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This experiment was fielded as part of a TESS telephone survey. Data and materials for all the studies included on this survey is available here.
Rutgers University, Newark and University of Michigan
Eric F. Dubow
Bowling Green State University and University of Michigan
University of Michigan
Sample size: 1007
Field period: 10/2003-11/2003
Our Study examined order effects in assessing aggression and beliefs about aggression. We hypothesized that stronger relations between behavior and beliefs would obtain from asking individuals to report first on behavior and then on beliefs, compared to the reverse. A nationally representative sample of 1,007 adults (58% female) completed a telephone survey in which each subject was assigned randomly to one of the two orders described above. Subjects responded to questions assessing: engagement in physical/verbal aggression in the last year and beliefs about how acceptable it is to behave aggressively. Our hypothesis was confirmed in that a correlation obtained only when participants first reported on their aggressive behavior: in this condition the correlation between aggression and beliefs about aggression was -.14 (p < .01; n = 502); in the reversed-order condition it was -.03 (p > .50, n = 505). Our results suggest important considerations for assessing aggression and aggressive beliefs.
We hypothesized that stronger relations between behavior and beliefs would obtain from asking individuals to report first on behavior and then on beliefs, compared to the reverse.
The manipulation consisted of randomly assigning subjects to one of two questionnaire orders: aggressive behavior, then normative beliefs about aggression; or normative beliefs about aggression, then aggressive behavior.
Aggressive behavior and normative beliefs about aggression.