The effects of masculinity threats on perceptions of physical aggression
May 7, 2019
Department or Program
Reactions to masculinity threats have been well-documented in previous psychological research. The current study seeks to contribute to this literature by assessing men’s perceptions of aggression, rather than their physical reactions, following a masculinity threat. My main research hypothesis is that individuals who perceive aggressive actions as acceptable will also perceive them as imitable. Additionally, when hypermasculine individuals are threatened, they will perceive aggression as more acceptable than those who are not. Other experiment-specific hypotheses are investigated. In the first experiment, participants in the threatened condition were required to paint their nails, while the control condition painted a picture. Participants in the second experiment watched media that approaches masculinity in different ways. Participants in both experiments then read a series of social vignettes and were asked to rate each vignette on acceptability, aggressiveness, and imitability. There was no effect of the masculinity threat in either experiment; however, there was a positive correlation between acceptability and imitability in both experiments. Cross-cultural differences are examined, and future research on intervention strategies and cultural differences in masculinity and aggression are discussed.