Dodge, Kenneth A.: Aggression and a Hostile Attribution Style
James D. Unnever
Why is it that when some people get bumped in a hallway they interpret it benignly—that is, “the individual bumped into me by accident”—but other people are convinced that the person bumped into them on purpose and respond with aggression? Kenneth A. Dodge, a pioneer in the research on aggression, argues that the reason why some individuals are more aggressive than others depends on whether they make benign or hostile attributions to potentially provocative behavior. People who are aggressive tend to make hostile attributions, whereas those who are less aggressive make benign attributions to potentially threatening behaviors. In short, developing a hostile attribution style is a major cause of delinquent behavior. Notably, in his earlier research Dodge and his colleagues argued that children develop a hostile attribution style because of early negative socialization experiences. However, in his later work, Dodge argues that aggressive behavior and hostile attributions are inherent universal ...