Disagreeable intentions: the role of personality in attitudes towards violence
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Research into the effect of personality on attitudes towards violence remains a relatively under explored topic. This is surprising as research into this area is not merely theoretical – indeed, it has the potential for a number of real life applications with regard to understanding the characteristic personality types of violent offenders. The following study examines attitudes towards violence in a group of 271 individuals, some of whom represent a standard sample of the population, and some of whom are practitioners of some form of martial art (and therefore actively choose to engage in violence under controlled conditions). Participants’ attitudes towards violence were measured in two ways. The first method utilised an adaptation of the Maudsley Violence Questionnaire (Walker, 2005) which was integrated into the IPIP personality questionnaire (Goldberg, 1999). The second method involved participants viewing several video clips of staged self defence scenarios in which the defender responds with varying levels of violence, and rating how morally justifiable they found the defender’s response to be. Several experimental hypotheses are relevant for this study, all based on a previous body of research. It is hypothesised that: Both agreeableness and neuroticism will play a significant role in attitudes towards violence, martial artists in general will have a higher justified violence score, both agreeableness and neuroticism will be significantly related to the video footage responses, practice of the martial arts will be negatively correlated to the video violence scores and that there will be significant difference between males and females across the video conditions. The results of this study showed support for four out of the six hypotheses. In both the questionnaire assessed violence scores and the video responses, males and females did not differ significantly. However, all other hypotheses were found to be supported.