Effects of provocation and alcohol on human aggressive behavior

T. H. Kelly, D. R. Cherek, J. L. Steinberg, D. Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Effects of provoking stimuli on human aggressive behavior and on the relationship between alcohol and aggressive behavior were measured. Four adult males manipulated pushbuttons that produced points on their own counters (redeemable for money) or ostensibly subtracted points (money) from the counters of fictitious persons described as participating in the same study at other locations. During five 10-min components, frequency and intensity of point subtractions, ostensibly controlled by another person, were manipulated. Each subject was repeatedly exposed to alcohol doses (0.25, 0.5 and 0.75 g/kg of 95% ethanol) over time using a repeated measures design. Aggressive responding was affected by provocation intensity and frequency. The highest dose of alcohol produced selective increases in aggressive responding; however, no interactions between alcohol effects and provocation conditions were observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-112
Number of pages8
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1988

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by USPHS grants DA 03166 and DA 05277, and by the Veterans Administration. Drs. W.K. Bickel, M.W. Fischman and R.W. Foltin offered valuable comments on earlier versions of the manuscript.


  • aggressive behavior
  • alcohol
  • humans
  • provocation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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