Personality pathways to aggression: Testing a trait-state model using immersive technology

Jean Louis van Gelder*, Reinout E. de Vries, Iris van Sintemaartensdijk, Tara Donker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Trait-state models aim to provide an encompassing view of offender decision-making processes by linking individual dispositions to proximal factors. In an experiment using an immersive virtual reality bar fight scenario, we propose and test a trait-state model that identifies the pathways through which robust personality correlates of aggressive behavior, that is, agreeableness, emotionality, and honesty-humility, result in intentions to aggress. Using structural equation modeling, we show how these personality traits relate to intentions to aggress via anger, fear, perceived risk, and anticipated guilt/shame. Additionally, we demonstrate superior validity of our virtual scenario over a written version of the same scenario by virtue of its ability to provide more contextual realism, to establish a stronger sense of presence, and to trigger more intense emotional states relevant to the decision situation. Implications for future decision-making research and theory are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)406-428
Number of pages23
Issue number3
Early online date6 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Criminology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Society of Criminology.


  • aggression
  • decision-making
  • personality
  • trait-state models
  • virtual reality


Dive into the research topics of 'Personality pathways to aggression: Testing a trait-state model using immersive technology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this