Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2017

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Psychology & Neuroscience

First Advisor

Bernadette Park

Second Advisor

Sarah Grover


Masculinity is a gender construct comprised of several types of masculinities. One key commonality across masculinities is a tie to aggression. Because masculinity and aggression are so closely linked, men whose masculinity is threatened often defend their manhood through displays of aggression (Bosson & Vandello, 2011). Aggressive behavior can also be increased by priming aggression-related concepts (Mussweiler & Förster, 2000; Bargh, Chen, & Burrows, 1996). The present study examines whether simply priming the construct of masculinity can lead to an increase in aggressive behavior. Study 1 establishes a set of images to be used as a masculine prime and a set to be used as a neutral prime. Study 2 assesses the influence of a masculine prime on the accessibility of aggressive thought, but finds no effect. In Study 3, priming masculinity is found to increase aggressive behavior for men who have not received a threat to their masculinity.