Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Optimism, cynical hostility influence fall risk in women

(HealthDay)—Optimism is associated with a decreased fall risk and cynical hostility with an increased fall risk for women, according to a study published online Aug. 27 in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.


Race influences how anger impacts cardiovascular health

Hostility and anger have been shown to be bad for us, particularly for our cardiovascular health, but a new University of Michigan study finds that it may not be an equal threat across all groups.

Psychology & Psychiatry

Kids expecting aggression from others become aggressive themselves

Hypervigilance to hostility in others triggers aggressive behavior in children, says a new Duke University-led study. The four-year longitudinal study involving 1,299 children and their parents finds the pattern holds true ...


What motivates males who commit sexual assault on campus?

The shocking statistic that about one in five women will be the victim of sexual assault while in college is made even more so by the fact that most of those women will know their assailants. No one-size-fits-all approach ...

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Hostility (also called inimicality) is a form of angry internal rejection or denial in psychology. It is a part of personal construct psychology, developed by George Kelly. In everyday speech it is more commonly used as a synonym for anger and aggression.

In psychological terms, Kelly defined hostility as the willful refusal to accept evidence that one's perceptions of the world are in some way askew from or out of alignment with objective reality. Instead of realigning one's feelings and thoughts with objective reality, the hostile person attempts to force or coerce the world to fit their view, even if this is a forlorn hope, and even if it entails varying degrees of emotional expenditure or harm to self and others.

While challenging "apparent reality" with alternative approaches can be a useful part of life, and persistence in the face of failure is often a valuable trait in the fields of invention or discovery, in the case of hostility there is the distinction that the evidence is not accurately assessed when the decision is made to repeat the same approach. Instead the evidence is suppressed or denied, and deleted from awareness - the unfavorable evidence which might suggest that a prior belief is flawed is to various degrees ignored and willfully avoided. Metaphorically, it can be said that reality is being held for ransom, and in this sense hostility is a form of psychological extortion - an attempt to force reality to produce the desired feedback, in order that preconceptions become validated. In this sense, hostility is a response that forms part of discounting of unwanted cognitive dissonance.

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