This study examined attention and memory processes assumed by the social information–processing model to be biased in aggressive children. We also explored whether similar biases were associated with overt and relational ag-gression. A total of 96 fourth through sixth graders saw videos of overtly and relationally aggressive child actors and afterward recalled video content. Par-ticipants' reaction times were also measured as they shifted attention from video content to neutral stimuli. Hierarchical regression analyses showed that, after controlling for processing of nonaggressive stimuli, peer-nominated relational aggression was significantly related to attention shifting and free recall for re-lationally aggressive videos; results were significant after controlling for overt aggression. Peer-nominated overt aggression was related to attention for overtly aggressive videos, but not when relational aggression was controlled. IQ and general attention problems did not explain results. The results suggest that rela- tionally aggressive children are particularly fixated on relationally aggressive events, perhaps because of the socially nuanced nature of relational aggression.
Arsenault, Darin J. and Foster, Sharon L.
"Attentional Processes in Children's Overt and Relational Aggression,"
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly: Vol. 58:
3, Article 6.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/mpq/vol58/iss3/6