A. a five step cognitive process:
1. Encoding - encoding of social cues. Relevant schemas are called into action; individual differences such as personality traits, attitudes, and external influences also contribute to the immediate interpretation of cues as they are made salient.
2. Interpretation - these cues are interpreted; at this point the intentions of others are evaluated and attributions are made. It has been shown that aggressive children are more likely to interpret intent as hostile (Dodge & Frame, 1982; Dodge & Somberg, 1987; Slaby & Guerra, 1988) much like we see in their adult counterpart.
3. Response Search - this information is used in a response search for the most accessible reply; as research has shown that aggressive children tend to respond aggressively to provocation (Deluty, 1981), it is likely that after enacting the hostile schema, and attributing the behavior to hostility, that the aggressive child will respond aggressively.
4. Evaluation of Response choice - The child then evaluates the response for the acceptable or appropriate response (i.e., fight, or flight).
5. Action - Finally, the child acts on the chosen response. Thus aggressive behavior is the result of poor social and cognitive skills.
Whereas social information processing (Dodge & Crick, 1990) provides a model for how aggression happens, social learning theory (Bandura, 1973) provides a possible etiology.