Third parties, violence and conflict resolution: the role of group size and collective action in the microregulation of violence

Mark Levine, Paul Taylor, Rachel Best

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although researchers know much about the causes of aggression, they know surprisingly little about how aggression leads to violence or how violence is controlled. To explore the microregulation of violence, we conducted a systematic behavioral analysis of footage from closed-circuit television surveillance of public spaces. Using 42 incidents involving 312 people, we compared aggressive incidents that ended in violence with those that did not. Behaviors of antagonists and third parties were coded as either escalating or conciliatory acts. Results showed that third parties were more likely to take conciliatory actions than to escalate violence and that this tendency increased as group size increased. This analysis revealed a pattern of third-party behaviors that prevent aggression from becoming violent and showed that conciliatory behaviors are more successful when carried out by multiple third parties than when carried out by one person. We conclude by emphasizing the importance of collective third-party dynamics in understanding conflict resolution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)406-412
Number of pages7
JournalPsychological science
Volume22
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Negotiating
Violence
Aggression
Television
Research Personnel

Keywords

  • Aggressive behavior
  • Violence
  • Prosocial behavior
  • Group size
  • Group dynamics

Cite this

@article{72c313d604f040118c01b1361548a3f0,
title = "Third parties, violence and conflict resolution: the role of group size and collective action in the microregulation of violence",
abstract = "Although researchers know much about the causes of aggression, they know surprisingly little about how aggression leads to violence or how violence is controlled. To explore the microregulation of violence, we conducted a systematic behavioral analysis of footage from closed-circuit television surveillance of public spaces. Using 42 incidents involving 312 people, we compared aggressive incidents that ended in violence with those that did not. Behaviors of antagonists and third parties were coded as either escalating or conciliatory acts. Results showed that third parties were more likely to take conciliatory actions than to escalate violence and that this tendency increased as group size increased. This analysis revealed a pattern of third-party behaviors that prevent aggression from becoming violent and showed that conciliatory behaviors are more successful when carried out by multiple third parties than when carried out by one person. We conclude by emphasizing the importance of collective third-party dynamics in understanding conflict resolution.",
keywords = "Aggressive behavior, Violence, Prosocial behavior, Group size, Group dynamics",
author = "Mark Levine and Paul Taylor and Rachel Best",
year = "2011",
month = "3",
doi = "10.1177/0956797611398495",
language = "English",
volume = "22",
pages = "406--412",
journal = "Psychological science",
issn = "0956-7976",
publisher = "SAGE Publications",
number = "3",

}

Third parties, violence and conflict resolution : the role of group size and collective action in the microregulation of violence. / Levine, Mark; Taylor, Paul; Best, Rachel.

In: Psychological science, Vol. 22, No. 3, 03.2011, p. 406-412.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Third parties, violence and conflict resolution

T2 - the role of group size and collective action in the microregulation of violence

AU - Levine, Mark

AU - Taylor, Paul

AU - Best, Rachel

PY - 2011/3

Y1 - 2011/3

N2 - Although researchers know much about the causes of aggression, they know surprisingly little about how aggression leads to violence or how violence is controlled. To explore the microregulation of violence, we conducted a systematic behavioral analysis of footage from closed-circuit television surveillance of public spaces. Using 42 incidents involving 312 people, we compared aggressive incidents that ended in violence with those that did not. Behaviors of antagonists and third parties were coded as either escalating or conciliatory acts. Results showed that third parties were more likely to take conciliatory actions than to escalate violence and that this tendency increased as group size increased. This analysis revealed a pattern of third-party behaviors that prevent aggression from becoming violent and showed that conciliatory behaviors are more successful when carried out by multiple third parties than when carried out by one person. We conclude by emphasizing the importance of collective third-party dynamics in understanding conflict resolution.

AB - Although researchers know much about the causes of aggression, they know surprisingly little about how aggression leads to violence or how violence is controlled. To explore the microregulation of violence, we conducted a systematic behavioral analysis of footage from closed-circuit television surveillance of public spaces. Using 42 incidents involving 312 people, we compared aggressive incidents that ended in violence with those that did not. Behaviors of antagonists and third parties were coded as either escalating or conciliatory acts. Results showed that third parties were more likely to take conciliatory actions than to escalate violence and that this tendency increased as group size increased. This analysis revealed a pattern of third-party behaviors that prevent aggression from becoming violent and showed that conciliatory behaviors are more successful when carried out by multiple third parties than when carried out by one person. We conclude by emphasizing the importance of collective third-party dynamics in understanding conflict resolution.

KW - Aggressive behavior

KW - Violence

KW - Prosocial behavior

KW - Group size

KW - Group dynamics

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=79954549786&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/0956797611398495

DO - 10.1177/0956797611398495

M3 - Article

VL - 22

SP - 406

EP - 412

JO - Psychological science

JF - Psychological science

SN - 0956-7976

IS - 3

ER -