Variables in interracial aggression: Exposure to aggressive interracial interactions

Marcia Donnerstein, Edward Donnerstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


An experiment employing 90 white male college students examined the influence of observing certain aggressive black-white interactions on subsequent interracial aggression. Before aggressing against a black target themselves, Ss were exposed to a white person aggressing against a black person using high, low, or unspecified electric shocks, and to the black person counteraggressing using one of the same three response patterns. Prior to statistical analysis, two orthogonal variates were identified: direct aggression and indirect aggression. It was found that less direct aggression was delivered to a black target when Ss witnessed a white person delivering low level shocks to a black than when Ss witnessed unspecified white behavior. Except for a decrement in direct aggression produced when Ss viewed unspecified shocking by a white and low shocking by a black, Ss' aggression was not influenced by black counteraggression. Results are discussed in terms of the usefulness of observational experience in modifying interracial aggression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-121
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1976
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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