This article describes a new approach for assessing cognitive precursors to aggression. Referred to as the Conditional Reasoning Measurement System, this procedure focuses on how people solve what on the surface appear to be traditional inductive reasoning problems. The true intent of the problems is to determine if solutions based on implicit biases (i.e., biases that operate below the surface of consciousness) are logically attractive to a respondent. The authors focus on the types of implicit biases that underlie aggressive individuals 'attempts to justify aggressive behavior. People who consistently select solutions based on these types of biases are scored as being potentially aggressive because they are cognitively prepared to rationalize aggression. Empirical tests of the conditional reasoning system are interpreted in terms of Ozer's criteria for ideal personality instruments. Noteworthy findings are that the system has acceptable psychometric properties and an average, uncorrected empirical validity of 0.44 against behavioral indicators of aggression (based on 11 studies).
- Conditional reasoning