Cross-Cultural Findings on Physical Aggression

Calvin Hall made extensive studies of dream reports from dozens of small, traditional societies that were studied in the past by anthropologists. There are great similarities with American dreams in some categories, but large variations in the amount and type of aggression. This is shown best with our Physical Aggresion Percent, which we derive by dividing the total number of physical aggressions in a sample by the total number of aggressions. The generalization that emerges from a large number of analyses is as follows:

  • For every small or tribal group except Hopi Indian males, the physical aggression percent is higher than it is for Americans.
  • Of all industrialized societies analyzed so far, the American physical aggression percent is the highest.
The data supporting these assertions are presented in the table below.

Physical Aggression Percents

Yir Yiront92n/a
United States5034
French Canadiansn/a31

One final comment on our findings on physical aggression percents: As the table shows, only among the people of Alor do the women have a higher physical aggression percent than men. Generally speaking, the men in a society are higher on all our aggression indicators (except Victimization Percent), but of course there are exceptions.

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