Word Pair Similarity Task (Craig A. Anderson)

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About Word Pair Similarity Task

The first published use of this version of the “Word Pair Similarity Task” was Anderson and Morrow, 1995, in a study of how cooperative versus competitive instructions influence a person’s view of how aggressive the task is, and the influence of cooperative versus competitive instructions on aggressive behavior during the playing of a video game. We also used the task in a study of trait hostility, pain, and aggressive thoughts (Anderson, Anderson, Dill, & Deuser, 1998). More recently, we used this task in a study of violent music lyrics (Anderson, Carnagey, & Eubanks, 2003). Scoring directions can found in the original research articles listed below. Researchers may use these materials free of charge for research purposes.

Word Pair Similarity Task
Word Pair Similarity Task

This task, modified from that developed by Bushman (1996), consists of rating the degree of meaning similarity of each paired combination of 20 words. Ten of these words can be interpreted as either aggression-related words or as aggression-unrelated words (e.g., bottle, night, stick). These words are referred to as ambiguous words. The remaining ten words are more obviously related to aggression (e.g., butcher, choke, hatchet). Ratings of each word pair were made on a 1 to 7 scale of how similar, associated, or related they were. A rating of 1 represented “not at all similar, associated, or related” and 7 representing “extremely similar, associated, or related.” Ratings were paced by computer-generated tones spaced nine seconds apart.

There are several ways to administer the Word Pair Similarity Task. One could give participants more time, less time, or an unlimited amount of time to work on the task. This task could easily be computerized so that the researcher could control how long each word pair appears on the screen before a rating is required. One can also add additional words to the task, as was done in the Anderson and Morrow paper (we added the words “competitive” and “cooperative”).


Word Pair Similarity Task (Craig A. Anderson, English)

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