Alcohol 2

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Alcohol & Aggression Essay, Research Paper Relating Alcohol to Aggressive Behavior From the beginning of recorded history, alcohol has been a part of human culture. However, it appears that the correlation between alcohol and violent aggression is a trait solely to the American culture. So the question that must be answered is ?Is it the alcohol, or is it the individual?s expectancies while under the influence of alcohol??. There has been piles of research done in an effort to answer this question and still the relationship between alcohol and aggression remains a mystery. In examining some of this research, there are some recurring themes and theories. The Expectancy Theory states that its is not the alcohol that causes aggressive behavior, but a person?s expectations of

what the alcohol does to oneself. A similar theory, but one worth mentioning, is the Attention Based Theory. It states that when using alcohol, a person?s cognitive resources are reduced. This causes a person to concentrate on only a few things, including emotion at the time, and pretty much block everything else out. This could lead to a person focusing in on anger and one having a heightened level of aggressive behavior. The final theory that has emerged is the Pharmacological Theory. This theory attributes alcohol?s effects on aggression solely to alcohol and how it interacts with the human body. There are other theories to sort through but, as I have found, these listed are of the more prevalent and plausible. The Expectancy Theory is based on the idea that it is the person

consuming alcohol, not the alcohol itself, that causes the increase in aggression. Magnified a little more, the theory is about how a society perceives someone?s actions sober and under the influence of alcohol. In reviewing “Social and Behavioral Consequences of Alcohol Consumption and Expectancy: A Meta-Analysis” (Bond, Hull 1986) it is plain to see the contradicting research in looking at this theory. However, the article?s primary focus is on how “expectancy affects deviant social behaviors by providing an excuse to engage in otherwise inappropriate acts.” The analysis took a sample of studies to examine. To be considered the study had to be published before Sept. 1985, used that used balanced-placebo design (used a randomized factorial design in which an

alcohol-placebo beverage manipulation was crossed with an alcohol-placebo expectancy manipulation). There ended up being thirty-six total experiments found that fit these requirements. The results of the experiments were combined to summarize the alcohol and expectancy effects. Dependent measures identified were: aggression, alcohol consumption, physical sensations, mood, attentional focus, locus of control, helping, motor performance, information processing, physiology, and sexual arousal. In order for the expectancy theory to hold true, the belief that one is drinking alcohol should have the same effects as alcohol consumption. The studies analyzed yielded interesting results. Internal sensations and mood seemed to be effected by the actual consumption of alcohol and relatively

immune to the effects of alcohol expectancy. The results found inconsistencies in the moods aroused when alcohol was consumed and a significantly high amount of heterogeneity of expectancy effects. This might indicate that expectancy has a more beneficial effect on mood in a humorous setting than in neutral setting (a humorous setting is hard to replicate in a research lab which accounts for this aspect missing in the data). The numbers show that physiological responses were not reliably susceptible to the effects of alcohol or expectancy. A sex difference is found, however, in the expectancy model of this aspect. Though not statistically significant, women showed a slight increase in