Read The Role of Positive Affect in Aggression by David Chester. It is natural to associate aggression with negative emotions, but have you ever considered that aggression is associated with an increase in positive feelings?
List your five favorite movies, or TV shows, and then count how many of them have revenge as a central theme. Were you surprised by the number of favorite movies/shows that have revenge and violence as a central component? Why do you think people are drawn to movies/shows with revenge plots? Imagine how it would feel to get even with your archenemy; would it feel good?
Click on the hyperlinks to learn more about the following serial killers: the Zodiac KillerLinks to an external site.; the Boston StranglerLinks to an external site.; & the Son of SamLinks to an external site.. Describe the emotions you associate with each killer and the emotions these killers likely experienced before, during, and after each killing. After you generate this list of emotions, read these quotes from each serial killerLinks to an external site.. Their emotions can be described as positive. Compare this with your list. How many negative and positive emotion words did you use when describing the serial killers? Did you emphasize negative emotions more than positive emotions? If so, why?
Read Molly Haward’s On aggression: seven healthy ways to use your aggressive feelingsLinks to an external site.. How might we channel our aggressive impulses in more constructive ways so that we can experience true happiness?
Adapted from C. Nathan DeWall’s teaching activity suggestions (Teaching Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2017).
On aggression: seven healthy ways to use your aggressive feelings
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