ABSTRACT

Although aggressive behavior is socially highly undesirable, it is prevalent in contemporary societies as well as human history and media portrayals of human interactions. The insight that lashing out aggressively does not only have severe negative consequences for the target of this behavior but also for the actor likely leads to the valid conclusion that such behavior is often executed against the actor’s own self-interest. Searching for an explanation for this puzzling fact has led several scholars to assume a typical self-control conflict between impulsive aggression and an inner antagonist whose job it is to stifle these aggressive impulses (e.g., DeWall, Baumeister, Stillman, & Gailliot, 2007). In this view, impulses are aggressive and need to be controlled by rational and non-aggressive instances reinforcing socially acceptable behavior. In the present chapter we aim to argue that the Reflective-Impulsive Model (RIM) by Fritz Strack and Roland Deutsch (2004) is helpful in overcoming this simplified and mechanistic model by incorporating the idea of individual differences on automatic and controlled levels of information processing that will determine how which individual will behave under which circumstances.