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Lecture 8

Lecture 8 - Aggressive and Suicidal Behavior

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Emis Akbari

PSY398H5S – Motivational Systems Lecture 8 – March 7, 2013 Aggressive and Suicidal Behavior Basic Emotions:  A universal set of basic emotions Facial Expressions A universal set of basic emotions Facial Expressions  Ekman (1971) facial expressions are universal and do not vary across cultures  6 basic facial expressions: o Anger, fear, disgust, surprise, happy, sadness Laboratory Techniques to Elicit Emotion  Mood Induction: o “Think of things that make you sad...” o Emotionally Evocative Stimuli: o Pictures of emotional scenes or words vs. neutral scenes  Reward & Punishment: o Eliciting emotion in nonhuman animals o Treats / shock etc Emotion & Cognition “I was so mad I couldn’t think straight....” “I would never forget something like that...” • Emotional responses interacting with cognition • Eyewitness testimony – memory & emotion (not reliable) • Affective judgments occur before & independently of cognition Phineas Gage (1848): a foreman of a construction crew building the railroad in Vermont. Blast sent a iron rod through is left cheek and out the top of his head. Died at 38 from a violent seizure  Personality had gone radical transformation Decision Making  • Choosing how to act  • Incoming stimuli & our values, goals,  emotional state, social situation • OFC important in processing,  evaluating & filtering social, emotional  information  • Damage = impairment in ability to  make decisions that require feedback from social & emotional cues Social Decision Making – vmPFC damage • insensitive to social norms • decisions based on perceptual info and not social cues • can’t inhibit socially inappropriate social responses (i.e. aggressive & sexual) • Perceptual information: Utilization behavior: exaggerated dependency on environmental cues – is the action appropriate? • Also occurs in primates – social status drops drastically Laterality •Right hemisphere is more important for emotion communication PSY398H5S – Motivational Systems Lecture 8 – March 7, 2013 •To communicate emotion we need 2 abilities: 1) To comprehend the emotional information (speech & facial expression) 2) Produce and generate emotional speech and facial expressions RIGHT: emotional comprehension emotional prosody – nonlinguistic emotional component of speech facial expressions Right hemispheric damage:  Deficits in voluntary facial expressions Parkinson's:  Deficits in spontaneous facial expressions What is Aggression? • A child punches a large plastic doll •A murderer is executed in the electric chair after being sentenced to death • A doctor gives a shot to a child • A parent spanks a child • A man hurls insults at a politician whose views he disagrees with Biologists - behaviors animals use to compete for limited resources Psychologists – intentional behaviors animals use to injure/kill Compare with dominance – behavior to achieve or maintain higher status, power, influence over others •doesn’t necessarily require overt aggression Aggression categories: •predatory •inter-male/social conflict •fear-induced/self-defensive •irritable •territorial •maternal Definitions • Intentional behavior aimed at causing either physical or psychological harm. • Hostile vs. Instrumental Aggression – Hostile: stems from a feeling of anger. Goal is to inflict pain or injury. – Instrumental: aggression takes place as a means to some other goal (e.g. professional assassin). Can aggression be biological? • Evolutionary psychologists argue yes. • Buss & Shackleford propose that our ancestors found aggression to be adaptive. • Lore & Schultz. Point out that most species have developed inhibitory mechanisms. – Thus, aggression is an optional strategy. Is Aggression Learned? • Are people reinforced for aggression? – If so, operant conditioning suggests that they are more likely to aggress in the future. • Social Learning Theory – Bandura’s famous study with the Bobo doll.  Social learning theory: behaviour is learned through the observation of others as well as PSY398H5S – Motivational Systems Lecture 8 – March 7, 2013 through the direct experience of rewards and punishments • Bobo doll study o aggressively towards the doll than control children who did not watch an adult beat up the doll  • By watching an aggressive model, we:   Is Aggression Learned – What about Punishment of Aggressive Behavior? • Punishment can lead to a decrease in aggression when: a) it immediately follows the aggressive behaviour b) it is strong enough to deter the aggressor c) it is consistently applied and perceived as fair and legitimate by the aggressor Is Aggression Learned? • Punishment can lead to an increase in aggression when it is perceived as unfair or arbitrary • Should children be spanked/hit as punishment for bad behavior? Regional Differences in Aggression and Social Models • Homicide rates for White southern males are substantially higher than for White northern males (especially in rural areas) – However, they do not endorse violence in general, only as a tool for protection of property and in response to insults • Nisbett research on southerners reaction to being bumped and cursed at – Moreupset (cortisol increase),primed for aggression (testosterone increase), more likely to engage in aggression after the incide Aggression Varies Around the World •Type of aggression varies from country to country high incidence of gun-related violence and it also has a high incidence of violence between individuals groups • Some societies are non-violent onites • These societies stress cooperation and are against competition Frustration-Aggression Theory • Dollard’s original definition: Frustration leads to (hostile) aggression. – Frustration is defined as having one’s goal attainment blocked. • Is this always true? • Berkowitz revises the or to state: – Frustration produces anger, which provides a readiness to aggress – but does not guarantee it. • Important concepts include expectations and relative deprivation. – American society “creates” frustration. Causes of Aggression PSY398H5S – Motivational Systems Lecture 8 – March 7, 2013 Alcohol – 75% of individuals arrested for crimes of violence were legally drunk at the time of their arrests. – Experimental evidence implies that alcohol ingestion increases aggression – Interpretation: alcohol is a dis-inhibitor. It seems that under the influence of alcohol a person’s primary tendencies are revealed Pain and Discomfort – If an animal experiences pain and can’t flee, violence follows (heat research) – Violent crime and aggression increases as temperature increases – summer higher violence – Confound ? – However, lab research suggests that temperature is key component Pornography and Violence Against Women • Presidential commission on pornography concluded that explicit sexual material in and of itself did not contribute to sexual crimes, violence against women, or other anti-social acts. • But.... Violent pornography has been shown to increase acceptance of sexual violence (Malamuth & Donnerstein). • Evidence that slasher movies have the same impact. Why does media violence affect us? • When we summarize the ideas in the research four themes arise: 1- Seeing others being aggressive weakens our learned inhibitions against violence. 2- Learn techniques, imitate. 3- Primes anger. Makes us more aware of anger. 4- Desensitization to violence. Aggression Humans and chimps only species where males hunt and kill others of their species Sex Differences in Aggression •in almost all species, males are more aggressive than females •females less concerned about status? •females need to be preserved more than males? Hormones and Aggression in Humans •in most people, probably not a strong link •however, links to Testosterone in anti-social or violent offenders •highest 5-10% Testosterone levels, more violent crimes •more unruly in prison •also true for women •in non-offenders: •effects of dominance /winning in men •T higher after graduation in medical students •T higher in tennis/soccer winners •T higher in fans of winning team •does not require own effort •spousal abuse up after home-team wins Anabolic steroids and aggression •anabolic – stimulate protein synthesis and muscle growth •anabolic steroids – androgens increase growth •Dianabol (1956) – first anabolic steroid in U.S. PSY398H5S – Motivational Systems Lecture 8 – March 7, 2013 •1980s •20% college athletes, 3-6% high-school males •for performance, appearance benefits •side effects •pituitary stops making gonadotropins •own T production stops •testicular atrophy, sperm defects •high blood pressure, cholesterol •water retention, puffiness •aggression, irritability, depression •may increase violent crime Mice and Rats •Aggression increases at puberty •adult castration reduces attacks •T restores, not clear if needs to be aromatized to E •once above normal T levels, more T does not result in more attacks •neonatal castration reduces later T effects on aggression •behavior organized and activated by T •DHT also has role •in periphery •alters pheromonal cue
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