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Lecture 9

Lecture 9 - Aggression and Altruism

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Emily Impett

PSY220H5 – Social Psychology Lecture 9 – November 21, 2013 Aggression and Altruism Oskar Schindler - Helped saved thousands of lives of Jews during the Holocaust through bribing the Nazi Irena Sendler - She also committed of acts of courageous altruism - With the help of her friends, issued to false documents, and was able to sneak them out and give them temporary identities Today’s Plan - Part 1: Aggression - Part 2: Violence and the media - Part 3: Prosocial behavior Aggression - An intentional action aimed at doing harm or causing pain to another living being who is motivated to avoid such treatment - Hostile vs. instrumental o Hostile (hot component) = behavior that is intended to harm a person (physically or psychologically) and motivated by feelings of anger and hostility o Instrumental (cold component) = refers behavior that is intended to harm a person, but in the service of motive other pure hostility (attract attention) Situational Causes (6 Aspects that can increase aggression) - Provocation - Frustration - Heat - Alcohol - Social exclusion - Aggressive cues (media) Provocation - How do we respond when provoked? o Turn the other cheek? o An eye for an eye? Eye for an Eye, Typically - We tend to respond to direct provocations with aggression - We tend not to reciprocate with aggression if we do not attribute malicious intent (it was only an accident) Quotes from Gangs - People respond in more acts of violence when they are provoked - Example: “If you slap me, I’m gonna hit you with my closed fist” Frustration - We all have the desire to pursue certain goals, and when we feel someone/something is blocking are goals, we can feel frustrated and increase levels of aggression - It can lead us to feeling helpless in some situations PSY220H5 – Social Psychology Lecture 9 – November 21, 2013 Waiting in Line Study (Experiment) - Confederate cut in front of participants waiting in line to see a movie - Person was either 12 in line or 2 in line - Target who was 2 in line was more aggressive in response to confederate o They were extremely close to purchasing their ticket (ie. really close to their goal) Heat - Can make us feel aggressive for different reasons - Arousal: heat can make us physiologically aroused o When we are in hot settings, we can misattribute stemming from the heat to another person leading to aggression - Can trigger can basic unpleasant feelings of behavior which can increase aggression behavior of response - Example: o People are more likely to honk their horns aggressively in hot conditions (when they do not have air conditioning) o People are more Aggressive in the Summer: violent crimes such as murder or rape are more likely occur in the summer season o Batters more likely to get Hit by Balls when it’s hot outside Alcohol - Influences our blood chemistry, and influences how are brains work that can induce inhibition - Can interfere with out thinking, by reducing our abilities to consider the future consequences of our actions (for both present and future) Consider these data… - The rate of violence in marriage is six times higher when a spouse drinks heavily than when he/she drinks moderately or not at all - Marital violence is between four to six times more likely if the husband is an alcoholic than if he is not - Both boys and girls who bully others are almost five times more likely to report alcohol use than those who do not bully. - Dating aggression is up to five times more likely among adolescents who use alcohol compared with those who do not. Experimental Study - Male undergraduates in heterosexual relationships were asked to describe a current conflict in their relationships - “Drunk” group: drank vodka to Ontario’s legal limit (0.8) - Control group: consumed drink that smelled like alcohol but contained basically no alcohol - After they drank alcohol (or thought they did) Asked to evaluate conflict they just described - Results: o Intoxicated – reported more negative emotions when thinking about the conflicts and thought their partners thought more negatively as well than compared to the sober people PSY220H5 – Social Psychology Lecture 9 – November 21, 2013 o After consuming alcohol, they saw the same conflict more negatively than those who have stayed sober Social Exclusion - “If you can’t join them, beat them” - Can lead kids to become more aggressive - Being more aggressive, to where aggressive kids will be more likely to be ostracized and be bullied by other kids Getting to Know You (Can Social aggression cause aggressive behavior) - Arrive to lab with 4-5 other students - Spend 15 minutes chatting - Asked to write down names of two people with whom you want to work on a group task - Experimenter collects the names Accepted vs. Rejected - Accepted: “I have good news for you – everyone chose you as someone they’d like to work with.” - Rejected: “I hate to tell you this, but no one chose you as someone they wanted to work with” Results: - Later, played a computer game with someone new - Participants who were rejected earlier were more aggressive toward a confederate in the game than the students who felt accepted - They gave longer and louder bursts of aversive noise Aggressive Cues - Social psychologists have shown that the presence of an aggressive stimulus or cues can increase the presence of aggression Consider these data… - The homicide rate in countries all over the world is highly correlated with the availability of handguns - Britain, for example, where handguns are banned, has one-quarter the population of the United States, but just one-seixteenth as many homicides Gun Study - University students were made angry and were then allowed to administer shocks in return o Were told that their partner would shock them between 1-10 time depending on where they need to improve on something o The partner would deliver 10 shots (regardless if they performed well or poorly) which made them angry o Then they were suppose to evaluate the confederates performance and evaluate how many shocks to administer - Three conditions: o Gun condition: revolver and shotgun were near shock machine o Neutral object: badminton rackets near shock o No object: no objects near shock machine PSY220H5 – Social Psychology Lecture 9 – November 21, 2013 - Results: when people were made angry (the max shocks), they administered more shocks in the gun condition relative to the neutral objet and no object condition o Ques can indicate aggression Violence and the Media Three Myths about the Media and Violence Myth 1 - The level of violence in the mass media simply mirrors the level of violence in the real world A Few Facts - Television characters are now 1,000 times more likely to be murdered than are real people - 87% of the crimes committed in the U.S. are non-violent crimes, but only 13% of crimes committed on reality based on TV programs (example Cops) are non-violent - Largest discrepancy between TV and real life is for murder o Daily life: 0.2% of all crimes o Television: 50% of all crimes Crimes - Murder: 50% of these kind of crimes on television, whereas in the real world it is such a low percentage The Truth - The mass media is a mirror that provides a distorted violent image of reality o Based in somewhat in reality (where violence does occur in real life) but it is a distorted reality Myth 2 - Violent media are cathartic and therefore decrease aggression Catharsis - Dates back to Aristotle, comes from the Greek catharsis, which means to cleanse or to purge - Acting aggressively or even viewing aggression purges anger
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