Does merely *thinking* about alcohol increase aggressiveness?

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Numerous studies have shown that alcohol increases aggression. In this article it is proposed that the link between alcohol and aggression is so strong that mere exposure to alcohol-related cues will automatically activate aggressive thoughts and behaviors. Two experiments tested this automaticity theory of alcohol-related aggression. In Experiment 1, participants exposed to alcohol- or weapon-related primes made faster lexical decisions about aggression-related words than did participants exposed to neutral primes. In Experiment 2, participants exposed to alcohol- or aggression-related subliminal primes were more aggressive toward the experimenter than were participants exposed to neutral subliminal primes. In both experiments, the effects of alcohol-related cues were as strong as the effect of aggression-related cues on aggressive thoughts and behaviors. People do not need to drink a drop of alcohol to become aggressive; exposure to alcohol cues is enough to automatically increase aggression.

Source: “Automatic Effects of Alcohol and Aggressive Cues on Aggressive Thoughts and Behaviors” from Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin August 2010 vol. 36 no. 8 1052-1057

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