Farrar, K., & Kremar, M. (2006). Measuring state and trait aggression: A short, cautionary tale. Media Psychology, 8(2), 127-138. Retrieved July 13, 2009, doi:10.1207/s1532785xmep0802_4

Ample evidence exists suggesting that exposure to television and film violence (Paik & Comstock, 1994) and playing with violent video games (Sherry, 2001) contribute to increases in aggressive behavior; however, the magnitude of the effect ranges from small to moderate. In this study, we argue that in some cases, use of trait, rather than state, aggression can serve to attenuate effects. We report the results of a study in which a trait aggression scale is reworded slightly to create a state measure. The state and trait scales are then compared in high- and low-aggression priming conditions. Results suggest that though both scales are reliable and both have construct validity, the reworded state aggression scale responds more to the high prime than to the low prime. More important, it also responds more than the original trait scale does. Therefore, minor variations in studies of media’s effect on aggression, such as variations in scale wording, can serve to attenuate effects. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved)(from the journal abstract)