Validation of a monetary Taylor Aggression Paradigm: Associations with trait aggression and role of provocation sequence

© 2020 Elsevier Inc. The Taylor Aggression Paradigm (TAP) is widely used to measure reactive aggression in laboratory settings. While modified versions (mTAPs) with various stimulus characteristics (shocks, noise, pressure, heat) have already been established, a modified version with monetary stimuli has only been introduced very recently. In this experiment, 209 young healthy participants (104 males, 105 females) completed a mock Competitive Reaction Time Task (CRTT) with a fictional opponent with preprogrammed 40 win and 60 lose trials. In lose trials, participants were provoked by subtracting a low (0–20 euro cents), medium (30–60 cents) or high (70–90 cents) amount of money from their fictitious account. Provocation stimuli were either presented randomly or in a fixed sequence (experimental conditions). In contrast to a random sequence, the fixed sequence was generated by repeating trials from the same provocation category in series of three. Linear mixed models (LMMs) considering aggression trajectories revealed significant effects of provocation (low, medium, high) and trait aggression (K-FAF) on reactive aggression. Men showed significantly higher reactive aggression levels than women. In regard to provocation sequence, we found no significant difference in reactive aggression between the random vs. fixed stimulus sequences. The findings provide new evidence supporting the view that the monetary mTAP is able to induce as well as capture reactive aggression in the laboratory. Additionally, we found no advantage of a fixed sequence as the level of reactive aggression in a given trial appeared to be mainly predicted by the preceding provocation trial.