Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A model for aggression and violence around the world.

I want to pass on the abstract of a forthcoming article in Brain and Behavioral Science for which reviewer's comments are being solicited. (I'm on the mailing list of potential reviewers because I authored an article in the journal in the 1990s). It's model of climate, aggression, and self control makes total sense in terms of my experience of living both in Madison Wisconsin (from May-September) and Fort Lauderdale Florida (October-April). (I returned to Madison two weeks ago and, as usual, have been struck by how much less defensiveness and aggression is exhibited by strangers in public in the more northern Madison location. Strangers at grocery stores are more benign, pleasant, and occasionally even make eye contact!)
Target Article: Aggression and Violence Around the World: A Model of Climate, Aggression, and Self-control in Humans (CLASH)
Authors: Paul A. M. Van Lange, Maria I. Rinderu, and Brad J. Bushman
Deadline for Commentary Proposals: Thursday June 9, 2016
Abstract: Worldwide there are substantial differences within and between countries in aggression and violence. Although there are various exceptions, a general rule is that aggression and violence increase as one moves closer to the equator, which suggests the important role of climate differences. While this pattern is robust, theoretical explanations for these large differences in aggression and violence within countries and around the world are lacking. Most extant explanations focus on the influence of average temperature as a factor that triggers aggression (The General Aggression Model), or the notion that warm temperature allows for more social interaction situations (Routine Activity Theory) in which aggression is likely to unfold. We propose a new model of CLimate, Aggression, and Self-control in Humans (CLASH) that seeks to understand differences within and between countries in aggression and violence in terms of differences in climate. Lower temperatures, and especially larger degrees of seasonal variation in climate, calls for individuals and groups to adopt a slower life history strategy, and exert more focus on the future (versus present), and a stronger focus on self-control. The CLASH model further outlines that slow life strategy, future orientation, and strong self-control are important determinants of inhibiting aggression and violence. We also discuss how CLASH is different from other recently developed models that emphasize climate differences for understanding conflict. We conclude by discussing the theoretical and societal importance of climate in shaping individual and societal differences in aggression and violence.

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