ContentServer.pdf - Copyright 1985 by the American Psychological Association Inc 0022-3514\/85\/S00.75 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1985

ContentServer.pdf - Copyright 1985 by the American...

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JournalofPersonalityandSocial Psychology1985,Vol.49, No.6,1541-1546Copyright1985by theAmerican PsychologicalAssociation,Inc.0022-3514/85/S00.75TheEffectsofMarijuanaonHuman Physical AggressionRodneyMyerscoughandStuart TaylorKentStateUniversityThirtymale undergraduates received intense provocationfollowingtheir ingestionofone ofthreedosesofdelta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol(THC).Thesubjectsin thelow-dose condition tendedtorespondin amore aggressive manner thanthesubjectsinthemoderate-andhigh-doseconditions.Thesubjectsin thehigh-doseconditionbehavedin arelativelynonaggressivemanner throughouttheexperimental session.Considerable controversyhasexisted con-cerningthepresumed relation between mari-juana consumptionandaggression.Aminorityofinvestigators have maintained that mari-juanacanprecipitate aggressive behavior,especially whenanindividual experiences dis-tortionsinperceptionor asenseofdeperson-alization.Nahas(1973)concluded thatapanicreaction could developinusers "who becomeagitatedandfeelthreatened."Hesuggests thatundersuch conditions,a"reactiontounpleas-antstimulimay beviolent." Most researchershaveargued that,ifanything, marijuanain-hibits aggression.Tinklenberg(1973) con-cluded that "the available dataonphysiologicalandpsychologicaleffectsofmarijuana stronglysuggeststhat marijuanadoesnotusuallyin-duceviolence, aggressiveorsexually aggressivebehavior." AccordingtoAusubel(1958),"marihuanabyvirtueof itsstupefyingeffects,maysometimes inhibittheexpressionof ag-gressiveimpulses."Areviewof theexperimental researchontheinstigatingeffectsofmarijuana indicatesthat veryfewstudies have actually manipulatedmarijuanaconsumptionandmonitored inter-personal aggression.Salzman,VanDerKolk,andShader (1976) reportedaseriesofstudieson theeffectofmarijuanaonverbal hostilityinasmall group setting.Theauthors reportedthat intoxicated subjects evidencedareductioninirritabilityandhostilefeelingsascomparedtosober controls.Tayloretal.(1976)investigatedtheeffectofmarijuanaondirect, physical aggression.Sub-Thisresearchwassupportedin pan byNational InstituteofDrug Abuse, GrantDA01444toStuartTaylor.Requestsforreprints shouldbesenttoStuartP.Taylor,DepartmentofPsychology,Kent StateUniversity,Kent,Ohio,44242.jectsingestedahighor lowdoseofeitheral-cohol (1.5vs. .5 oz. per 40Ibs.)ordelta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol(.3 vs. .1mgperkilo-gram).Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)istheprimary psychoactive ingredientinmari-juana.Thesubjectsweregiventheopportunitytoshock increasingly provocative opponentswhilecompetingin atask involving reactiontime.Accordingto theresultsof thestudy,thesubjectsin thehigh-dosealcohol conditionsetsignificantlyhigher levelsofshock thanthesubjectsin thelow-dosecondition.On theother hand,thehigh doseof THC did not fa-cilitate aggressive responding.Infact,therewasatendencyfor thehighdoseof THC to

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