Hostile attribution bias in impulsive and premeditated aggression

Laura E. Helfritz-Sinville, Matthew S. Stanford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Previous research has demonstrated an association between trait aggression and hostile attribution bias, or the tendency to interpret others' actions as hostile, yet little research has been devoted to exploring its role in subtypes of aggression. We used hypothetical vignettes to explore hostile attribution bias in impulsive aggressors, premeditated aggressors, and non-aggressive controls. Contrary to our prediction that impulsive aggressors would be more prone to hostile attribution bias, we did not observe direct evidence of this; however, a bias was indirectly evident in the behavior of both types of aggressors. Although they did not specifically articulate feeling as though ambiguous acts were committed with hostile intent, their verbal and physical reactions indicated otherwise. Future research should focus on delineating the full sequence of social cognitions that occur during aggressive encounters in order to determine whether these reactions were produced by common or divergent motivations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-50
Number of pages6
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • Aggression
  • Hostile attribution bias
  • Hostile attributional bias
  • Impulsive aggression
  • Premeditated aggression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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