Situational pressure, attitudes toward blacks, and laboratory aggression

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Knud S. Larsen
Leonard Colen
Doug Von Flue
Paul Zimmerman
Cite this article:  Larsen, K., Colen, L., Von Flue, D., & Zimmerman, P. (1974). Situational pressure, attitudes toward blacks, and laboratory aggression. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 2(2), 219-221.


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The importance of the situational context in producing discriminatory behavior cannot he overlooked. This experiment on laboratory aggression investigated the effect of racial attitudes on the willingness to shock a black victim. A second purpose was to compare 2 groups in the shock levels administered to a black or
a white victim. The results showed that attitudes toward blacks are not related to the level of shock administered to blacks. A black victim is shocked less than a white victim. This discriminatory behavior can be understood as a function of the social pressures of the university community as influenced, for example, by the affirmative action programs.

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