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Response Paper

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Andy Faustow

Response Paper #16


While I did find the concept of associative networks as a means to explain individual differences in response to aggressive cues as outlined in Bushman's article to be interesting and worthwhile, it also leaves us with many questions. The finding that individual differences in response to aggressive and ambiguous stimuli are due in part to individual differences individual memory structures is especially revealing in terms of how cognitive structures translate into specific behaviors. The question I am interested in is: why do "aggressive individuals have more extensive and well-developed aggressive cognitive associative networks"? As an adherent to the theoretical perspective which places much importance on the influence of childhood socialization, I contend that individuals who are exposed to aggressive behavior at an early age have a greater propensity for "well developed aggressive cognitive associative networks" than those who are not exposed to aggressive behavior at a young age.

To support my contention I ask the reader to look no further than the research which clearly shows that aggressive behavior works in a kind of vicious cycle. Specifically, research indicates that those who were abused as children are much more likely to abuse their own children; and I find it reasonable to assume that through this childhood abuse they were simultaneously developing an aggressive cognitive structure as well as a belief that abuse, whether physical or verbal, is an appropriate way to discipline one's children. Therefore, logic dictates that an effective way to reduce aggression at least in some people would be to somehow mandate that aggressive behavior toward children is unacceptable or even illegal. Unfortunately, as we brought up in a prior class discussion, it



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