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Rejection Leads To Aggression

Seeing rejection as a common thread in school shootings, psychologists conducted experiments to see if rejection in the lab produced aggression.

Boy in shadow

Photo: Veerle581 (Flickr)

Understanding aggression could help scientists work with psychologists predict attacks.

I recently read that psychologists have discovered that rejection leads to aggression. They did a bunch of experiments with college students, and again and again, those students that researchers randomly rejected then became aggressive and anti-social.


Researchers grouped several students together, then asked them each to write down with whom they’d like to collaborate from the group of people they’d just met.

Then the researchers randomly told some of the participants that no one wanted to work with them.


These particular subjects were then matched with people they had not met before to play a game in which the winner was able to blast the loser with an unpleasant noise, the intensity and duration of which were adjustable by the winner. The rejected subjects chose a higher intensity and a longer duration with which to blast their opponents.

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