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PSYC 2310 (443)
Saba Safdar (370)


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PSYC 2310
Saba Safdar

Aggressive Behaviour DEFINITION: “Aggression is any form of behaviour directed toward the goal of harming or infuring another living being who is motivated to avoid such treatment”  Not aggression if other person isn’t motivated to avoid treatment (masocism) - Aggression is in our nature & nurture: “a false debate!” Aggression is Inborn Instinct theories: - Aggressive instinct (McDougall): humans have 18 instincts that drive us to our behaviours - Does not explain what an instinct is. - Death instinct, “Thanatos” (Freud): 2 instincts – drive to destroy an organism, attacks others to ‘bring them to nothing’ - Hydraulic theory: Unexpressed emotions build up pressure which must be expressed to relieve that pressure (like water in a container). Evolutionary perspective of aggression: - Human warfare originated in attempts to obtain valuable resources - Women; to make sure their children would survive - Emphasizing genetic survival - Gender differences in patterns of mate selection - Study of sexual jealousy Biochemical & neural influences on aggression: - Amygdala, an area in the core of the brain, is associated with aggressive behaiour - Testosterone is associated with aggression (high levels) - Serotonin is associated with aggression (low levels) Studies on Aggression - Observation of & experimentation with species other than humans - Zing Yang Kuo’s (1961) experiment: raising a kitten in the same cage with a rat, will the car chase other rats or this rat when it is grown?  Didn’t chase this rat or other rats – argues NOT inborn  Criticized: just provided a situation where you have learned not to be aggressive, doesn’t mean it isn’t inborn. - Eibl-Eibesfeldt’s (1963): raising rats in isolation – rat becomes aggressive when new organisms introduced to environment, however this does NOT show that aggression is inborn. - Konard Lorenz’s (1966) observtaion of the behaviours of cichlids, highly aggressive fish.  Do not attack other fish, do not attack female cichlids – only target other male cichlids.  Removed all male cichlids from the environment & left females & other fish: eventually the male cichlid started attack
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