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Durham Research Online
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Power and aggression : making sense of a fickle relationship.

Weick, M. (2020) 'Power and aggression : making sense of a fickle relationship.', Current opinion in psychology., 33 . pp. 245-249.


‘Power’ and ‘aggression’ are two constructs that seem like a natural fit. After all, why should people in power not deploy aggression to get their way? Yet, when looking at empirical studies, the relationship between power and aggression is fickle at best. In an effort to integrate the literature, the present narrative review draws on a neuro-biological model of aggression as a framework, which distinguishes between three motivational mechanisms: offence, defence, and marking/display. High (vs. low) power likely facilitates offensive aggression and agonistic marking/display. However, high (vs. low) power often coincides with elevated status, which counters some of the detrimental effects of power. Meanwhile, defensive aggression is relatively under-researched, but may be a more frequent occurrence amongst lower power individuals and groups.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
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Publisher statement:© 2020 This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date accepted:14 October 2019
Date deposited:18 October 2019
Date of first online publication:13 November 2019
Date first made open access:13 December 2020

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