Downloads

Insult, Aggression, and the Southern Culture

Authors:
Dov Cohen, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Brian F. Bowdle, Northwestern University
Norbert Schwarz , University of Michigan (Ann Arbor)
Publication Date:
Jan 1996
Project Programs:
Cultural Contact

Three experiments examined how norms characteristic of a "culture of honor" manifest themselves in the cognitions, emotions, behaviors, and physiological reactions of southern White males. Participants were University of Michigan students who grew up in the North or South. In 3 experiments they were insulted by a confederate who bumped into the participant and called him an "asshole". Compared with northerners--who were relatively unaffected by the insult--southerners were (a) more likely to think their masculine reputation was threatened, (b) more upset (as shown by a rise in cortisol levels), (c) more physiologically primed for aggression (as shown by a rise in testosterone levels), (d) more cognitively primed for aggression, and (e) more likely to engage in aggressive and dominant behavior. Findings highlight the insult-aggression cycle in cultures of honor, in which insults diminish a man's reputation and he tries to restore his status by aggressive or violent behavior.

RSF

RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of original empirical research articles by both established and emerging scholars.

Grants

The Russell Sage Foundation offers grants and positions in our Visiting Scholars program for research.

Newsletter

Join our mailing list for email updates.