Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology


Behavioral Science



First Advisor

Charles E. Collyer


Violence is pervasive in our world. The acceptability of violence as a societal norm sets the stage for interpersonal and intergroup conflicts. One source of such conflict is that individuals differ in how they perceive violence and violent behavior. Previous research found that individuals differ in their explicit attitude evaluations of violence. The first manuscript in this dissertation expanded upon this research area with an examination of implicit attitude evaluations of violence. This manuscript addressed the creation of a new measure of implicit attitude evaluations of violence and nonviolence using the Implicit Association Test (IAT). Participants were asked about their explicit perceptions of violence, and similarities were found among word generation, word categorization, and definition generation tasks. In addition, the newly created IAT measure was concurrently validated using explicit and implicit measures of violence, aggression, and nonviolence. The Violence Sensitivity Scale (VSS) was negatively correlated with the Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire-Short Form (BPAQ-SF), consistent with previous research. Due to missing data and a small sample size, there were no significant correlations found between the remainder of the target measures. The second manuscript in this dissertation examined the utility of the IAT measure within the context of intractable intergroup conflict. Results suggested that outsiders legitimize violence of groups who are powerless and communicate fear more than those who are powerful and communicate anger. Participants were more likely to sympathize with powerless-fearful groups than powerful-angry groups. Explicit and implicit attitude evaluations of violence were not related to participant perceptions of intergroup conflict.



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