The Anger-Aggression Bidirectional-Causation (AABC) Model’s Relevance for Dyadic Violence, Revenge and Catharsis.
In a recent article on family violence, Finkenauer et al1 invoked a host of distal factors, but failed to address a frequent and potentially crucial proximal cause – the dyadic aggression sequence – of which the main components are provocation, anger, and retaliation. A detailed analysis of the aggression sequence, including the behavioral and physiological consequences of revenge, was, for perhaps understandable reasons, also missing in the recent adaptationist discussion of the revenge and forgiveness systems by McCullough, et al. Yet the culmination of numerous aggression-related exchanges between members of a dyad, repeated over protracted time periods, may be the particularly deleterious anger-free preemptive strikes.
One purpose of this article is to review the evidence for the arguably key aspect of an aggression sequence, the “cathartic effect” (defined below), within Konečni’s Anger-Aggression Bidirectional-Causation or model. The second purpose is to contribute to, and hopefully extend, the systemic and the adaptationist accounts of provocation, revenge, and their roles in the dynamics of dyadic intrafamilial violence.
Although the experimental demonstrations by Schachter and Singer have been sharply criticized, Schachter’s core theoretical proposal has not been seriously challenged – that once an emotion has been identified by the experiencing person, the level of arousal largely governs the intensity of the emotion. Even a cursory examination of the implications of the various details of the proposed two-way causal link between anger and aggression can illustrate the model’s utility as an integrative, heuristic, and predictive tool.
Soc Behav Res Pract Open J. 2016; 1(1): 1-9. doi: 10.17140/SBRPOJ-1-101