The General Aggression Model

Johnie J. Allen, Craig A. Anderson, Brad J. Bushman

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


The General Aggression Model (GAM) is a comprehensive, integrative, framework for understanding aggression. It considers the role of social, cognitive, personality, developmental, and biological factors on aggression. Proximate processes of GAM detail how person and situation factors influence cognitions, feelings, and arousal, which in turn affect appraisal and decision processes, which in turn influence aggressive or nonaggressive behavioral outcomes. Each cycle of the proximate processes serves as a learning trial that affects the development and accessibility of aggressive knowledge structures. Distal processes of GAM detail how biological and persistent environmental factors can influence personality through changes in knowledge structures. GAM has been applied to understand aggression in many contexts including media violence effects, domestic violence, intergroup violence, temperature effects, pain effects, and the effects of global climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-80
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
Early online date13 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


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