Losing Control: How Do You Become an Angry, Aggressive Person?

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When it comes to anger, is catharsis truly effective or does it just feel good? This week on All the Rage we look at the catharsis theory and talk about what role venting anger through options like rage rooms play in aggression. Dr. Brad Bushman joins us again to explain his research about what happens when we vent our anger.

Guest From the Episode

Video Mentioned in the Episode

Facial Expressions and Personality Traits

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crabby_womanHaving a happy expression will make you appear more confident in your interactions. This is according to a 2018 study by Ueda and Yoshikawa that found a couple of key findings: First, people with angry facial expressions are seen as having a more dominant and aggressive personality. They are therefore seen as being able to dominate others by physical strength and behaviors. Meanwhile, those with happy expressions are seen as being more dominant than those expressing other emotions due to having a relatively higher social standing than others they are interacting with.

The study involved showing participants pictures of individuals expressing different emotions and participants were asked to rate those pictures based on perceived dominance  In the one person pictures, people with the angrier expressions were seen as more dominant.  Contrary to expectations, the results were different when participants were shown a picture of a two-person interaction. In the two-person interaction, the person who appeared happy was seen as being more dominant than the angry person.

The difference in how people evaluate dominance for individuals versus pairs shows that being more dominant in a social setting is not the result of appearing more ready to dominate others by physical strength and behaviors. Whether a person appears dominant through expressing angry or happy emotions may give insight into their potential behavior. People who appear angry may try to use physical strength and behaviors to obtain their goals. People who appear happy in an interaction, particularly during an argument, may be better able to hide their anger, which allows them to remain calm and appear confident. Their happiness could also imply that they are winning the argument. It is important for people to be able to distinguish between these two types of dominance so that they can understand how they appear in their interactions and so they can evaluate the personality and social standing of others, modifying their own behaviors accordingly.


Ueda, Y., & Yoshikawa, S. (2018). Beyond personality traits: Which facial expressions imply dominance in two-person interaction scenes? Emotion, 18(6), 872-885. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000286


Unknown-225x300by Torrey Lucido

Torrey is a junior majoring in Psychology at The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay with and emphasis in Brain, Behavior, and Health. After graduating she plans to earn a graduate degree in occupational therapy and work with patients with brain injury and developmental disabilities.

 

Losing Control: Over 30,00 Americans are Killed Every Year

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In this week’s episode, Ryan is joined by guest co-host Taylor Gulbrand, University of Wisconsin Green Bay senior. The two sit down to discuss road rage, their experience as the victim or perpetrator and what research has to say about it. We then hear an interview with Dr. Brad J. Bushman, Professor of Communication and Psychology and Margaret Hall and Robert Randal Rinehart Chair of Mass Communication, as he talks us through who is most likely to experience road rage and what some potential causes of aggressive driving are.

Guests From the Episode

YouTube Video Mentioned in the Episode

Losing Control: It’s About Anger, Frustration, and Violence

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Gather ‘round! Ryan and Chuck start off this episode from the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts at UW-Green Bay with a LIVE segment about “mob violence,” then we hear from Dr. Kate Burns, a Psychology and Human Development professor and Associate Dean for the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences as she takes us through the psychology of groups. We finish this episode with an interview on mob violence with Dr. Lori H. Rosenthal, Associate Dean for the School of Humanities, Education, Justice, and Social Sciences, for Lasell College where she is also an Associate Professor of Psychology.

Guests From the Episode

Five Facts About… Curiosity?

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Doing something a little different today as I prepare for a talk on a very different emotion than I usually write about.  I’m about to speak to a group of high school teachers about the value of curiosity in the classroom, so I thought I would post some interesting curiosity facts to get started.

Here they are:

Losing Control: Apologize and We’ll Let it Go

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In this episode of All the Rage, Ryan and Chuck respond to a few infamous Youtube clips of people losing control. Part one of this special series on “losing control” will help us think about what losing control means, how and why some people lose their cool, and it’ll help us ask “are we REALLY ourselves when we’re mad.”

YouTube Clips Discussed in the Episode

 

 

Special Series on Losing Control: Trailer

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In this trailer for our special series on losing control, Ryan and Chuck provide a sneak peak at what you can expect over the next few months.

Focused on losing control, this series includes interviews with social psychologists, neuropsychologists, and other experts on what happens when people get really really angry. The first episode comes out on October 23, 2018.

Anger Management Tip: Take a Timeout

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breathe-airWhen I was a kid, there was a PSA on TV from time to time that went something like this: “When you feel yourself getting tense. Stop. Two. Three….  Breath. Two. Three…. Think your way to sense.”

Despite the cheesy phrasing, timeouts are a good thing for adults, teens, and kids alike.  They can help us calm down when we’re frustrated.  So, the next time you’re feeling angry, take a break, count to five, or walk away from the person you are frustrated with until your anger dissipates.


PodcastCheck out the All the Rage Podcast to learn more about anger and violence


 

ryanBy Dr. Ryan C. Martin
Ryan is the chair of the Psychology Department at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and a nationally known anger researcher.  His work focuses on healthy and unhealthy expressions of anger, including how we express anger online.

Find Ryan on Twitter, Facebook, or Snapchat (rycmart)