Making the World a More Hostile Place: Honor Endorsement and the Hostile Attribution Bias

Stephen Foster, Jarrod E. Bock, Mauricio Carvallo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Prior research has sought to understand factors which facilitate aggression in cultures of honor but has focused primarily on objective reputation threats as the primary contributor. The current research investigates the extent to which honor norms may be linked with hostile attribution bias, a perceptual bias in how individuals perceive ambiguous scenarios, as well as how this might contribute to aggressive outcomes commonly found in the honor literature. Method: One thousand eight hundred thirty-one participants across two studies (one preregistered) and three sources of data completed measures on their anticipated anger, aggression, and attributions of hostility in hypothetical benign, ambiguous, and hostile scenarios. Some participants also completed measures of a word-sentence association paradigm to assess participant’s access to hostile cognitions. Results: Analyses revealed significant indirect effects from honor endorsement to a latent aggression outcome through attributions of hostility and anticipated anger. Interestingly, significant effects were found in all three conditions (benign, ambiguous, and hostile) in Study 2. A significant link between honor endorsement and Hostility Association scores was only found in participants living in a culture of honor region. Conclusions: Findings suggest that honor-endorsing individuals may be more likely to interpret benign and ambiguous scenarios as inherently hostile, thus contributing to their propensity for aggressive responding. Prevention may lie in intervening during socialization processes, and implications suggest hostile attribution bias may play a role in domestic violence and support for other forms of violent behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-96
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology of Violence
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 14 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology

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