PSY220H5 Lecture Notes - Ethnic Conflict, Conduct Disorder, Emotional Contagion

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Published on 15 Apr 2013
School
UTM
Department
Psychology
Course
PSY220H5
Aggression
March 21st, 2013
What is aggression?
Why does aggression occur?
When does aggression occur?
How can aggression be reduced?
Aggression
intentional behaviour aimed at causing either physical or psychological pain
Its not just being assertive
Intention is the key
Accidents, dental treatments
Hostile aggression
aggression stemming from feelings of anger and aimed at inflicting pain
Ex. Linebacker tackling blocker because he is angry at him and wants to cause
him pain
Ex. Murders: arguments, brawls while under influence of alcohol, romantic
triangles (intense feelings of anger and individual wants to cause pain to
another person)
Instrumental aggression
aggression as a means to some goal other than causing pain
main goal is not to cause pain but to get to something you want
Ex. Linebacker tackling blocker in order to get to ball carrier
Ex. Terrorist acts- suicide bombers intent isn’t necessarily to inflict pain to
others but to send a message
Ex. Violent acts of retribution and sexual coercion (i.e. rape may be about power
or dominance) - i.e. acts of revenge
Why does aggression occur?
Biological phenomenon
Instinct
Neural influences
Genetic influences
Biochemical influences
Response to frustration
Social learning phenomenon- we learn how to, when and how to aggress through social learning
Biological: Instinct
Idea that aggression stems from instinct (within us all)
Sigmund Freud (1930) theorized that human beings are born with:
An instinct towards life and wealth, called Eros
A death or aggressive instinct, called Thanatos
Builds up and must be released or may cause illness
Society helps regulate and sublimate this energy
Problems
“explaining-by-naming
Is universal among vertebrates, but is it instinctual?
Ex. Cats and rats
Ex. Rats raised in isolation
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Does not necessarily mean it is instinctual because stimulus is external
Ex. Male cichlids
May be evidence of instinct
Aggression varies widely across cultures
European history is marked by frequent wars
In some cultures, acts of aggression are rare
the Efe (Democratic Republic of Congo)
Changes in social environment can produce changes in acts of aggression
Ex. The Iroquois
Aggression has survival value
Ex. Gaining resources, defending against attack, eliminating or intimidating rivals
Yet nearly all organisms seem to have evolved strong inhibitory mechanisms, enabling
them to suppress aggression
Using aggression as means of survival and develop mechanism to inhibit/stop aggressive
behaviour
Biological: Neural Influences
Parts of brain involved in aggressive behaviour; influence aggressive behaviour
Amygdala
Processing stimuli (fear), social information and other emotional information
an area in the core of the brain that is associated with aggressive behavior
Ex. Amygdala stimulation in male monkeys- pairing one dominant and one
submissive male monkey with each other
But, there is flexibility
Ex. Amygdala stimulation in male monkeys
Prefrontal cortex
Ex. Raine et al (1998, 2000, 2005, 2008)
Brain activity and amount of grey matter in men with antisocial conduct
disorder
PFC 14% less active, 15% smaller
Influences neural system’s sensitivity to aggressive cues
Breeding for aggression
Ex. Guard dogs, attack dogs (aggressive behaviour genetic in nature)
Ex. Human infant temperament
Ex. Identical twins reared apart
Interaction between genes and environment
Ex. Caspi et al (2002), Moffit et al (2003)
Combination of gene that alters neurotransmitter balance AND childhood
maltreatment
Biological: Biochemical Influences
Alcohol
Enhances aggressiveness
Reduces self-awareness
Focuses attention on provocation
Mental association between alcohol and aggression
Lowers our threshold for aggressive behaviour
Interfere with our ability to consider the consequences of our actions
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Biological: Biochemical Influences
Relationship even found among youth
Ex. Out of 1000 youths in middle adolescence
By grade 8 ~35% of boys and 25% of girls reported alcohol use
Both male and female bullies were ~5 times more likely to report
alcohol use
May be a factor in dating violence
Ex. MacDonald, Zanna & Holmes (2000)
Serotonin
a chemical in the brain that may inhibit aggressive behaviours
Low levels associated with increased aggression
Ex. Laboratory studies
Ex. Humans and primates
Testosterone
a male sex hormone associated with aggression
Stronger impact in lower animals
Frustration
Occurs when a person is thwarted on the way to an expected goal or gratification; you
cannot reach particular goal for some reason
Frustration-aggression theory (Dollard et al. 1939)
People’s perception that they are being prevented from obtaining a goal will increase
the probability of an aggressive response
Frustration-Aggression Theory
Barker, Dembo & Lewin (1941)
Frustration condition
Young children shown room with attractive toys that were kept out of reach
Watched from behind a wire screen with the expectation they would play with
them
After a long wait they were finally allowed to play with them
Control condition
Children allowed to play with the toys right away
Results
Control group played happily with the toys
Frustrated group were destructive
Ex. Smashed toys, stepped on them
Several factors increase frustration
Closeness to goal
Ex. Harris (1974)
Cutting into line
Frustration is unexpected
Ex. Kulik & Brown (1979)
Student tele-fund raisers
Do not need to aggress directly toward source of frustration
Frustration does not always produce aggression
Several factors affect whether frustration leads to aggressive behaviour
Size and strength of the person responsible for the frustration
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Document Summary

What is aggression: why does aggression occur, when does aggression occur, how can aggression be reduced, aggression intentional behaviour aimed at causing either physical or psychological pain. Intention is the key: accidents, dental treatments, hostile aggression aggression stemming from feelings of anger and aimed at inflicting pain. Linebacker tackling blocker because he is angry at him and wants to cause him pain. Murders: arguments, brawls while under influence of alcohol, romantic triangles (intense feelings of anger and individual wants to cause pain to another person) Instrumental aggression aggression as a means to some goal other than causing pain: main goal is not to cause pain but to get to something you want. Linebacker tackling blocker in order to get to ball carrier. Terrorist acts- suicide bombers intent isn"t necessarily to inflict pain to others but to send a message. Violent acts of retribution and sexual coercion (i. e. rape may be about power or dominance) - i. e. acts of revenge.

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