PSYC 241 Lecture Notes - Monoamine Oxidase, Hot Sauce, Social Learning Theory

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21 Nov 2012
PSYC 241 WEEK NINE November 8, 2012
- physical or verbal behaviour intended to hurt someone
-hostile aggression: hurting someone else because we are angry or frustrated
-instrumental aggression: hurting someone else to achieve some other purpose
- ex. sports, getting what you want, violent crimes, protecting
Challenges Posed When Studying Aggression
- problems interpreting non-experimental findings
- reverse causality (violent children choose to watch violent tv; or violent tv makes chil-
dren more violent)
- third variables (spurious correlations: parents are violent toward children, etc)
- how do social psychologists operationalize aggression in the laboratory?
- self reports
- scenario completion
- shocks administered
- noise administered
- hot sauce administered
- demanding yoga poses
Aggression: Nature or Nurture? BOTH!
- evolutionary account (Buss)
- aggressive tendencies: more evolutionarily advantageous for survival and reproduction
- testosterone
- violent criminals: higher testosterone levels
- specific genes (monoamine oxidase)
- defective gene + parental mistreatment = more violent crime
- serotonin
- NT that might inhibit aggressive impulses
- social learning theory (Bandura)
- children learn aggressive behaviour by watching an adult behave aggressively
- parental mistreatment (abuse, neglect)
- children who are abused are more likely to behave in aggressive behave later on
Gender Differences
- the tendency to physically aggress in one of the most pronounced gender differences
- evolutionary perspectives: men had to defend, hunt, etc; women were caregivers
- social-cultural perspectives: male babies are seen as more aggressive/angry than baby
- people discipline females more for being aggressive than males
- however, relational aggression is more pronounced among females
- more likely to exclude others in a group
- more gossip
- also, the gender difference in aggression decreases when individuals are provoked
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