Social Information Processing

Shyness And Social Anxiety System

Treating Social Phobias and Social Anxiety

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Experiences of aggression in the family, the peer group, the mass media, and other social contexts enhance the development of schemes of social information processing that encourage antisocial behaviour (Crick and Dodge, 1994; Huesmann, 1997; Losel, Bliesener and Bender, in press). According to Crick and Dodge (1994), aggressive youngsters show specific tendencies in the (a) encoding of cues, (b) interpretation of cues, (c) clarification of goals, (d) response access and construction, (e) response decision and evaluation and (e) behavioural enactment. For example, they perceive more aggressive stimuli in social situations, interpret the intentions of others more frequently as being hostile, set more egocentric goals for actions, retrieve more aggressive reaction patterns from their memory, evaluate the consequences of aggressive actions more positively, and possess fewer non-aggressive interaction skills. Such modes of information processing make aggression a subjectively adequate reaction in social interactions. They are important mediators between long-term social influences, personality factors, and situational conditions of delinquent behaviour. However, more research on the relations between the various phases of information processing, social experiences and antisocial behaviour is necessary (Losel et al., in press). There are also not only unidirectional influences but more complex interactions in the chain reaction towards chronic delinquency. For example, in spite of methodological problems, the majority of research supports a significant effect of media violence consumption on the aggressive behaviour of youngsters (Huesmann and Miller, 1994; Huesmann, Moise and Podolski, 1997). However, the media effects interact with an already existing aggressiveness and other consumer characteristics (Paik and Comstock, 1994). Because aggressive youngsters consume more violent films than others, they face the risk of consolidating aggression-prone schemes of information processing and related affective patterns (Losel et al., in press).

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