Evaluation of aggressive interactions in interpersonal and intergroup contexts

Sabine Otten, Amélie Mummendey, Michael Wenzel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The article deals with possible differences in the evaluation of interpersonal and intergroup aggression. Study I investigated whether the typical perspective‐specific divergence in judgments about aggressive interactions (with actors evaluating their behavior as more reasonable and less inappropriate than recipients) varied in interpersonal and intergroup contexts. Additionalty, the possible mediating influence of lay epistemic motivation and subjective judgmental confidence was explored. Results indicated that the social context had an important impact on the evaluation of aggressive interactions: there was a lower dissent between actors and recipients in the intergroup than in the interpersonal condition. However, the direction of this pattern of data differed from what could be derived from theories of aggressive and intergroup behavior. Subjective confidence and lay epistemic motivation did not influence the inappropriatencess ratings. Study II tried to shed some further light on the context‐specific evaluation of aggressive interaction by presenting episodes of different severity and by obtaining judgments on both actions as well as reactions. Results showed that‐irrespective of severity‐aggressive reactions were evaluated more negatively in intergroup contexts. It is proposed that this effect stemmed from context‐specific differences in the application of the norm of reciprocity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-224
Number of pages20
JournalAggressive Behavior
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • aggression
  • intergroup behavior
  • lay epistemology
  • perspective‐specific divergence


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