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February 27th Altruism and Aggression

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Social Psychology
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Paul Glavin

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February 27 , 2014 Altruism and Aggression Assignment 2: Monday March 3 , due Friday March 21 5pm onAvenue Lecture Outline - Explaining altruistic and aggressive behaviour o Individual-based Explanations  Sociobiology Theory - Situational/Environmental Explanations o Social Learning Theory o Situational Factors o Social Norms - Monday: Historical trends in aggression/violence Aggression - Aggression is any behaviour intended to harm another person that the target person wants to avoid. o Heart surgery is not aggression o Abungled assassination is aggression. Altruism - Altruism is helping that is intended to provide aid to someone else without expectation of any reward o The good feeling that may result is the reward Instinct and Evolution - Aggression/Altruism is instinctual o Freud: innate urge to destroy - Sociobiology (E. Wilson 1975) o Applies Darwinian ideas to animal/human behaviour o Aggressive/Altruistic behaviour is selectively targeted to increase the chances that our own genes will be passed on to subsequent generations Evaluating the Evolutionary Explanation ofAggression andAltruism - Largely shaped by animal studies o Can we generalize to humans? - Cross-cultural variations in aggression/altruism Social Learning - Aggressive/altruistic behaviours are learned o Bandura (1961) doll study - Many children learn aggressive behaviour from their parents o Alongitudinal study of 717 boys found that boys who experienced harsh parenting practices at ages 10 to 12 were more likely to be involved in violent dating relationships at age 16. Violence and Media: Television - Research studies on violence and media consistently report moderate positive correlations between viewing and aggressive behaviour. o Casual ordering? Viewing  Aggression Or Aggression  Viewing Violence and Media: Television 1. Viewing  Aggression Factors: o Imitation o Cognitive priming o Legitimizing o Desensitization o Arousal 2. Aggression  Viewing - Circular process? Situational/Environmental Factors Examples: 1. Bystander Effect - Kitty 1960s 2. Social Norms Darley and Latane (1964) - Students participating in discussion over intercom o Participants hears one of the students having a seizure o How quickly will they respond? - Varied conditions: number of other students (bystanders) participating (2;5; 6) o In reality, no other students in experiment (just recorded voices) o Independent - the situation/condition they are put in o Dependent - how long it takes for the student to react The Bystander Effect - The bystander refers to the fact that the greater the number of bystanders in an emergency, the less likely any one bystander will help. - Acrowd is easier to diffuse the responsibility vs. a single person. - We ought to help and we ought to do what others are doing. - People were torn when they were interviewed because they faced a difficult decision to conform or not. Explanations for the Bystander Effect 1
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