Symbolic communication : a study of verbal reasoning ability in relation to aggression levels in early adolescence

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Moussoulides, Andrea
Issue Date
BA in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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The aim of this experiment is to examine the verbal reasoning abilities of adolescents in relation to aggression. It is assumed that higher communication and symbolization skills allow for more expressive means and in turn facilitate lower levels of aggression. The experiment expects to demonstrate a relationship between low verbal reasoning abilities and high levels of aggression in adolescents. Verbal reasoning was chosen as the symbolic measurement in this experiment, as linguistic processing skills are an imperative part of communication. The aim of the experiment is to show that higher ability in such reasoning skills can be effective in reducing aggression. This is because the individual is more effective in processing and organising linguistic structures, therefore experiencing less frustration and thus acting less aggressively. There was a total of 147 participants, all of which were aged between 12-14. A between subjects design was used with participants divided into two groups for analysis based on high verbal reasoning ability and low verbal reasoning ability. This distinction was dependent on participants' performance on a verbal reasoning test. Their aggression levels were obtained using the Buss and Perry aggression questionnaire. The independent variable of the experiment was whether or not the participant was assigned to the high verbal reasoning group or the low verbal reasoning group. The dependent variable was their level of aggression based on the Buss and Perry aggression questionnaire. The results showed no significant difference between participants' ability to reason verbally and their level of aggression. As a result the hypoFinal Year Project for this experiment was not supported.