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Judgements of Responsibility, Feelings of Anger/Sympathy and Social Conduct of Help-giving and Aggression

Vezir Aktaş, Recai Coştur
2007; 22(59):15-42

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The present study was aimed to test in the domains of prosocial (help giving) and antisocial (aggression) behavior in a Turkish sample, consisting of 887 Hacettepe University students (463 males and 424 females). The results revealed that the social conduct theory within the perspective of judgments of responsibility was partially confirmed in the Turkish sample. The findings implied that both the help giving and the aggressive behaviors could be taken into consideration in the same conceptual framework. Generally, the expected cognition-emotion-behavior sequence was observed; hence, the attributional thoughts of responsibility/controllability determined the emotional reactions of anger and sympathy and these emotional reactions, in turn, directly influenced helping and aggressive behaviors. Indeed, for aggression, the results also indicated that cognitions of perceived controllability had only an indirect effect on aggressive behavior mediated by the emotions of anger and sympathy; there was no direct influence of cognitions on behavioral reactions. Hence, the results partially confirmed the cognition-emotion-behavior theory of social conduct for aggression in which an additional direct influence of cognitions on behavioral reactions was also present as postulated by Weiner (1995). On the other hand, for help giving, the findings were consistent with the literature confirming the theory which proposed that thoughts determined the feelings of anger and sympathy and these feelings, in turn, determined the actions.

Keywords: Responsibility judgments, attribution, perceived controllability, anger, sympathy, aggression, help giving