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Ethological Studies of Aggression.docx

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PHGY 313
Sebastien Breau

AGRESSIVE BEHAVIOUR  Many factors can make a person aggressive including: childhood experiences, exposure to violence on television and in the movies, peer group pressures, hormones and drugs, and brain malfunctions Ethological Studies of Aggression  Zoologists and ethologists have studied animal behaviour and found that aggression is important for the survival of a species The Social Relevance Intraspecific Aggression  Intraspecific aggression- attack by one animal on another member of its species  Animals use intraspecific aggression when it comes to mating, but it has outlived its usefulness for humans Threat and Appeasement  Ethologists discovered related set of behaviours in many species: ritualized threat gesture and appeasement gestures  Threat gestures- enable animal to communicate aggressive intent to another before engaging in actual violence eg.1- when one dog intrudes another’s territory it growls, raises hair on back, bare its teeth to make intruder go away eg.2- since an all out battle between two wolves would end up killing one and severely wounding the other, ritualized displays, rather than over aggression is more advantageous to survival  Appeasement gesture- where animal shows the other animal that it doesn’t want to fight- that it admits defeat  this is done by wolves by lying down and exposing its throat, the sight of the helpless, vulnerable opponent terminates victor’s hostility, and fight ceases Hormones and Aggression  testosterone seems to exert effects on some forms of aggressive behaviour in infrahuman species  eg- adult male mice will attack other male mice that intrude its territory, but if it’s castrated early in life, before brain is matured, then it won’t attack in adulthood even if injected with testosterone  it is found that androgens also promote aggression in males along with sexual behaviour  people that were in prison, that a history of violence and many convictions were studied, and were found to have higher levels of testosterone.  Studies also showed that levels of testosterone could fluctuate according to the environment and people that person is around  There’s also possibility that athletes that take steroids are more aggressive, which they are, but it’s not exactly proven because it may be that men that were originally competitive could’ve taken the steroids Environmental Variables That Affect Human Aggression  When a violent child is punished by physical violence like spanking, the child tends to imitate it  Many parents that abuse their children happen to have been victims themselves in their childhood  Violence in TV, movies, comic books and video games also allow children to resort to violence  By age of 18 kids witness 100 000 -200 000 violent acts on TV  It is concluded by studies that violent media programming increase, causally, violence among those who watch it THE NATURE OF EMOTIONS  Evoked by particular kinds of situations  Tend to occur in association w/ approach or avoidance behaviours  Accompanied by expressions (smiles/frowns)-convey our feelings to people  Emotion - brief display of a feeling made in response to environment events having motivational significance or in response to memories of such events  Nature of emotion depends on nature of stimuli and reinforcements (experiences) EMOTIONS AS RESPONSE PATTERNS  Existence of emotions is to provide patterns of behaviour appropriate to particular situations-evolution  Emotional responses contain 3 components: o Behavioural-consists of muscular movements appropriate to the situation that elicits them o Autonomic-facilitate these behaviours and quickly mobilize energy for vigorous movement o Hormonal-reinforce the autonomic responses-secreted by the adrenal glands increases heart rate and blood flow CONDITIONED EMOTIONAL RESPONSES  Conditioned emotional response - classically conditioned response produced by a stimulus that evokes an emotional response-in most cases, including behavioural and physiological components  Specific response and nonspecific (responses controlled by autonomic nervous system)  Amygdala-located in temporal lobe-serves as a focal point b/w sensory systems and systems responsible for behaviour
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