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Editorial The Open Psychology Journal, 2015, Volume 8 1
Open Access
Editorial:
Towards a Better Understanding of Aggression and Other Related
Concepts
This special issue entitled “Towards a better understanding of aggression and other related concepts” is a product of the
XXXVII CICA International Conference co-organized by two Polish universities: Kazimierz Wielki University of Bydgoszcz
and the University of Zielona Góra. It took place from the 22 to the 25 June, 2014 and was attended by about 100 participants
from 16 countries [1].
The aim of the Conference was to study the phenomena of aggression and conflict resolution using a comprehensive,
integrated and interdisciplinary approach which takes into account both biological and psycho-socio-cultural factors. Several
communications dealing with emotions, including anger and fear, and others with behaviors such as aggression, violence and
terrorism, have been selected for this issue.
A Southafrican practitioner, Tina Lindhard, specialized in transpersonal psychology, suggests that maybe it is time we start
studying emotions including anger and fear from "the inside out" by including phenomenology as a method to throw more light
on how we experience these states in or through our bodies. Furthermore, she presents the "Living Matrix" model, which owes
its origin to Quantum Mechanics and Electronic Biology, as a new complementary way of understanding how the living
organism functions [2].
The Italian scholar Dr. Pagani stresses the complexity of violence, presented as a macrosystem of networks and of agents
linked and interacting at different interconnected levels. She points out to the difficulty of defining violence, referring it not
only to the explorations of the connections between systems taken from different research fields, but also to the theoretical
premises and to the aims of the research. She argues that this “holistic” approach could allow a deeper understanding of
violence and could lead towards more innovative and effective solutions to the problem of violence itself [3].
Dr. Ramirez, who has dedicated several decades of his research to the analysis of the justification of aggression from a
cross-cultural approach across four continents, evaluates the applicability of a specific test (CAMA) in a new cultural context,
assessing the structural equivalence of the data obtained in two different German age cohorts with the data previously
investigated across the other cultures. Some adaptations concerning the assessment and theoretical models of the justification of
aggressive actions in the German cultural context are being discussed [4].
Two academic colleagues from the University of Zielona Góra, Dr. Farnicka & Dr. Grzegorzewska, focus on some more
practical aspects of aggression research, if we may say that, leading towards its prevention or therapy in children and
adolescents. These Polish psychologists identify and analyse the family determinants for undertaking the aggressor or victim
role. The results of their study reveal a number of determinants for people involved in perpetration or victimization, such as the
type of relationship with parents (secure or insecure pattern), personal experience of being in the victim or aggressor role, and
the level of hostility [5].
Finally, the first president of the Society for Terrorism Research, Dr. LoCicero, recounts some concerns raised by American
psychologists, both earlier, in the years following September 11, 2001 (9/11), and more recent changes in the US policy,
leading towards the risk for the USA of becoming a police state. According to her paper, engaging in open discussion about the
failings of the American policy, the sometimes legitimate grievances of terrorist groups, and the draw of violence as a solution,
is likely to put sincere and innocent adults at risk of becoming targets of intensive surveillance and suspicion [6].
It is thus clear that the discussion on aggression and other related concepts is here carried out from various scientific
perspectives, which include traditional experimental psychology with a special focus on the role of family relationships and
cultural factors, social and political psychology with a special focus on the role of State policies, and other theoretical
perspectives which try to integrate their psychological framework with contributions from western and eastern philosophy, the
neurosciences, biology, quantum physics, and complexity theory.
REFERENCES
[1] Pagani C, Farnicka M, Liberska H, Ramirez JM, Eds. Conflict and aggression: developmental and social conditions. DIFIN: Warsaw 2014.
[2] Lindhard T, Emotions including anger, fear, body sensations and inner experiencing. Open Psychol J 2015; 8: 3-10
[3] Pagani C. Violence and complexity. Open Psychol J 2015; 8: 11-16.
[4] Ramirez JM. Structural equivalence of the questionnaire on moral attitudes toward aggression (CAMA) in different German age groups. Open Psychol
J 2015; 8: 17-22.
2 The Open Psychology Journal, 2015, Volume 8 Editorial
[5] Farnicka M, Grzegorzewska I. The role of social support in determining the acting as a victim or aggressor during different periods of adolescence.
Open Psychol J 2015; 8: 23-31.
[6] LoCicero A. Unintended domestic consequences of America's "War on Terrorism". Open Psychol J 2015; 8: 32-37.
J. Martin Ramirez Camilla Pagani
Center for Conflict Studies, Nebrija University, Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies
Madrid National Research Council, Rome
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Article
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The objective of the presented research was to find the family determinants for undertaking the aggressor or victim role. The obtained results enabled the description of environmental (family-related) and developmental factors that have a bearing on the formation of perpetrator or victim identity. For that purpose, two groups of variables were identified. The first group included child-independent variables shaping the socio-economic status of the family (parents’ education, material status, number of siblings), while the second group pertained to the patterns of attachment to each parent. The sample consisted of 120 adolescents aged 13 to 20. The research tools were Mini – DIA, the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment – IPPA, and Buss-Perry aggression questionnaire. The results revealed a number of determinants for persons involved in perpetration or victimization, such as the type of relationship with parents (secure or insecure pattern), personal experience of being in the victim or aggressor role, and the level of hostility. The resulting “determinant bundles” may inform professionals in their work with adolescents in the field of prevention or therapy.
Presentation
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Assessment of the cultural equivalence of the Questionnaire on Moral Attitudes toward (CAMA) in German university students and senior citizens. Cross-cultural measurement of aggression
Article
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Like all the phenomena that the human mind is knowledgeable about, the phenomenon of violence should be regarded as a complex macrosystem, where systems of networks and agents are linked and interact at different interconnected levels. This means that complexity refers to the phenomenon per se, to the various cognitive and emotional processes through which the human mind should examine and evaluate it and to the development of solutions to eradicate violence itself. It is clear that the complexity of these processes of examination and evaluation should be a requisite both of scientists and of laypeople. This does not mean that the scientist or the layperson should be knowledgeable about all the components and aspects of the macrosystem in their complex interconnections but that they should think and act on the grounds of their awareness of this complexity. One of the main issues relating to the study of violence is the definition of violence itself. In this respect, it is here suggested that thoughts and emotions, and not only behaviors, should be included in the definition of violence. As an exemplar of the difficulty regarding this specific issue, some considerations will draw on data obtained in a previous study on children and adolescents’ animal abuse experiences. It is also important to point out that complexity does not only refer to the explorations of the connections between systems taken from different research fields (e.g., neurology, biology, psychology, sociology, etc.). It can also refer, for example, to the theoretical premises of the research and of the questions at stake, to the scope and aims of the research and of these questions, and to the methods used in the investigation. In the same way, it is also important to bear in mind that, rooted in the theoretical premises and in the aims, are also specific views of society and life in general and that these views deeply and unavoidably affect the whole investigation process. It is clear that focusing on complexity also means opposing the fragmentation which usually characterizes the scientific study of violence and the interventions aiming to countervail it. Finally, as complexity theory indicates, through this “holistic” approach, a new conceptualization and understanding of violence could emerge so as to lead to more innovative and effective solutions to the problem of violence.
Article
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The Questionnaire on Moral Attitudes toward Aggression (CAMA) focuses on moral attitudes toward aggression by asking respondents to rate combinations of different aggressive actions and situations in which these actions might be shown according to their respective justifiableness. Since its first applications by Lagerspetz and Westman in 1980 [1], it has been used in numerous cross-cultural studies across four continents for more than thirty years. The purpose of the studies here presented was to evaluate its applicability in a new cultural context, assessing if CAMA’s data obtained in two different age cohorts from the German cultural context measured the same theoretical construct previously investigated across the other cultures (structural equivalence). In the present studies 117 German university students (age range 19-38) and 141 German senior citizens (age range 60-94) were asked to complete a German translation of the CAMA. The structural equivalence was assessed by evaluating the fit of German data on previous factor structures via confirmatory factor analysis. A multi-group approach was being used to ascertain CAMA’s applicability across different age groups. The structural fit was accessed by referring to factor structures that were derived from previous studies in the USA, Spain, Japan, and Hong Kong. These factor structures include separate three-factor models for types of aggressive actions and different two-factor models for situations in which these actions might be shown. The results from both age groups of German population indicate the structural equivalence for the two factor models regarding defensive vs . non-defensive situations that justify aggressive actions. The equivalence for previous three-factor models regarding types of aggressive actions could not be shown in the German samples. Hence, adaptations concerning the assessment and theoretical models of the justification of aggressive actions in the German cultural context are being discussed.
Article
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Abstract: The importance of the body is enormous; it is our physical reality. So maybe it is about time we recognize not only that "there is no human function which does not involve both the brain and social context" [1], but also that there is certainly no human function that does not also involve our bodies and all that this implies. And we may well ask what in fact does this imply? Science in general has been interested in a world "out there". However, largely due to quantum physics, consciousness, awareness, inner experiencing and human perception are now being taken seriously in many fields of study such as transpersonal psychology, anthropology, and neuroscience. Even new disciplines like consciousness studies and electronic biology are being created. Psychology, in its endeavor to be recognized as a science, has largely made an object of its field of interest by looking at the human being in a mechanical way. Psychology too, almost by definition, has concerned itself mainly with certain aspects, namely the mind (usually associated with the brain), neurological processes and behavior and it has therefore neglected the body. The phenomenological method, as an additional way of gaining information through introspection, will also briefly be discussed here In this essay the effect of our thoughts when naming an emotion such as anger and fear on our bodies will be considered. In addition the "living matrix" model, which owes its origin to quantum mechanics and electronic biology, will be presented as a new complementary way of understanding how the living organism functions. The basic tenets of the quantum reality will also be presented.
Article
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Abstract: This paper begins by recounting concerns, raised by various American psychologists regarding psychological consequences of US counterterrorism policies following the attacks of September 11, 2001 (9/11.) Predictions made by a task force created by the American Psychological Association to consider the likely social effects of US counterterrorism policies have proved accurate. These include not only fear, but widespread crippling panic resulting from vague warnings and lack of suggested actions; discrimination, resulting from increased emphasis on in-group vs. out-group identities; hate crimes against those perceived as members of out-groups, and lack of tolerance for antiwar perspectives. Recent, increasingly radical, changes in policy, such as widespread surveillance of US citizens’ actions and communications by various US agencies, have led to more dire consequences, with many now concerned that the US is at risk of becoming a police state. The combined and interactive effects of earlier and more recent changes in US counterterrorism policies have caused serious, sometimes terrible, consequences. This paper explains how these consequences have become part of a vicious circle: frightened, passive, and unable to collaborate in rational attempts to manage the threat of terrorism, citizens have not begun to consider how to prevent future instances of homegrown terrorism.
The role of social support in determining the acting as a victim or aggressor during different periods of adolescence
  • M Farnicka
  • I Grzegorzewska
Farnicka M, Grzegorzewska I. The role of social support in determining the acting as a victim or aggressor during different periods of adolescence. Open Psychol J 2015; 8: 23-31.
Conflict and aggression: developmental and social conditions Emotions including anger, fear, body sensations and inner experiencing
  • C Pagani
  • M Farnicka
  • H Liberska
  • Jm Ramirez
Pagani C, Farnicka M, Liberska H, Ramirez JM, Eds. Conflict and aggression: developmental and social conditions. DIFIN: Warsaw 2014. [2] Lindhard T, Emotions including anger, fear, body sensations and inner experiencing. Open Psychol J 2015; 8: 3-10