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Lecture 10

PSYB10H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Bobo Doll Experiment, Prefrontal Cortex, Albert Bandura

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July 12 2012
Lecture 10 Aggressive and Prosocial Behaviour
- Aggression is intentional behaviour aimed at causing pain
- Two dimensions of classification type of pain and goal of pain (is it by accident, or purposely to
harm another)
- Type of pain physical aggression aggression inflicting physical pain
- Type of pain verbal or relational aggression saying or doing psychologically hurtful things e.g.
- Goal of aggression we make a distinction b/w hostile and instrumental aggression
- Hostile aggression stems from anger and frustration (low level form of aggression) while the end
goal is to inflict pain and thus “I am acting aggressively towards you”
- Instrumental behaviour inflict pain while the pain is a middle step toward another goal the
goal is not the pain but rather is the outcome
Why we hurt typical answers
- “I was born that way” – Genetic predisposing
- Aggression is adaptable and has survival value in order to survive we have to compete
- Earliest evidence animals can be bred to be aggressive and twin studies have found high
heritability for aggression
- Stimulating the amygdala (part of the limbic system, associated with anger) leads to aggression
- Depends on context - Amygdala associated with both fear and anger while anger is approach
motivated emotion while fear is a withdrawal motivated emotion
- The amygdala does not always lead to aggression, sometimes it leads to fear
- What predicts one versus the other is ones relative social status high in social status “I can win
the this fight = stimulates anger and aggressive behaviour ” while “low in social status” –
stimulates withdrawal and fear
- Prefrontal cortex may be the regulator of aggression, generally involved in planning and
behavioural regulation
- High degree of prefrontal activity then you should be able to control those aggressive impulses
- Murders have less prefrontal cortex hen normal controls and PFC becomes activated when
contemplating an aggressive act
- Relationship b/w testosterone and aggressive behaviour stereotype is men are more
aggressive then women however studies show injecting testosterone does not increase
aggression (week effect r = 0.14)
- In general in men the point finger tends to be longer than their wedding finger (than women
whereas women’s tend to shorter)
- This is related to exposure to androgens in the womb which are steroid hormones, the greater
the discrepancy between the lengths of the fingers, the greater the aggressive behaviour (ONLY
- Serotonin neurotransmitter related to many aspects of experience, may inhibit aggressive
- Violent criminals have less serotonin than normal’s, serotonin antagonists (blockers) increase
- “The booze made me do it” – Chemical influence
- Alcohol disinhibits behaviour in general

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- Reduced self consciousness = de-indviuduation
- Reduced attention (plan less) and reduced attention towards the consequences of action
- 65% of homicides and 55% domestic violence, assailant and or victim had been drinking
- In lab studies comparing alcohol with placebo (non-alcoholic beer) you drink what you think is
a beer, you give higher shocks in a milligram type experiment
- After given a beer in a lab they show more anger when thinking about conflict with romantic
- “I was having a bad day” – Frustration Aggression theory
- Frustration (emotional response blocked from your goal) the perception that you have been
prevented from attaining a goal
- More aggression when you are close to the goal, frustration is unexpected, intentional or
- Greater aggression if you can’t retaliate at the person you are frustrated at
- However, not all aggression is the result of frustration and not all frustration leads to aggression
- Environmental factors - pain and heat (heat above 32 C invokes aggression)
- Neo association aversive events cause anger, concepts associated with anger become
- Anger related concepts already in working memory esp facilitated
- Aggressive stimuli trigger aggressive behaviour (anger primes aggression, an object that we
associate with aggression e.g. knife or a gun”
- Study “the gun study- partipant works with confederate on problem solving task involving
shocks, 2. Anger manipulated by shocks from confederate 3. Next participant can shock
confederate 4. Beside the shock machine was wither a. nothing b. gun c. badminton racket
- Results high anger (shocked 7 times) you choose the gun while low anger likely to choose
no object or racket
- “ I did what anyone else would do” or “violence in the media” – Social learning theory
- Vicarious learning (by Albert Bandura) learning solely through observation of other people’s
reinforced and punished behaviour (no direct reinforcement or punishment, also called social
- Social modeling of aggression we learn aggression from observing others and imitating them
- Adoption of modeled behaviour are dependent on rewards and punishments observed
- People who come from aggressive environments themselves become more aggressive in their
approach because that is what they have learned and observed
- BOBO DOLL experiment kids watch video tape of young adult behaving aggressively or
neutrally toward a bobo doll 2. Models consequences rewarded, punished or not 3. Kids
incentive or no incentive
- Results when the kids saw the model be rewarded stickers after acting aggressively, the kids
also acted in a aggressive manner
- If the kid saw the model being punished rather than rewarded then the child didn’t imitate the
aggressive behavior
- The no consequence condition where the model had no consequence after acting in an
aggressive behaviour , the kid still activated the same way as the reward condition
- Bandura found that the children exposed to the aggressive model were more likely to act in
physically aggressive ways than those who were not exposed to the aggressive model. Children
exposed to the aggressive model were more likely to act in verbally aggressive ways than those
who were not exposed to the aggressive model
- Implications family influence physically aggressive children more likely to have physically
punitive parents
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