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Lecture 11

PSYC21H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Relational Aggression, Intentionality, Advantageous

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David Haley

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Lecture 11: Aggression
What is aggression?
- Very clear definition in the West that points the finger to this one distinction of
intentionality that would dictate whether a behaviour is aggressive
- Behaviour that is intended to and in fact does harm another person by inflicting pain or
- It is sometimes difficult to determine whether an action was intentional or accidental
- Alternative definitions focus on:
The form of the act
The outcome of the act
- The best definition focuses on the aggressor, the victim, and the community
An act is aggression if the aggressor intends it to harm the victim, the victim
perceives it to be harmful, and it is considered aggressive according to the norms of
the community
- Is aggression innate and/or acquired? evidence in text that it is both
- Is it rising or declining?
- Ppl that don’t get their needs recognized in early synchrony they will assume just that
and take an aggressive act towards it to get it because they have never experienced
getting what they want by getting what you need you develop a coping strategy to
negotiate future conflicts that are less aggressive
- If you don’t get needs recognized you form these compensatory strategies that facilitate
aggressive behaviour
Types of aggression
- Function of aggression
Proactive aggression: behaviour in which a person is hurt or injured by someone
who is motivated by a desire to achieve a specific goal (instrumental aggression)
act as means to a goal
Reactive aggression: a form of hostile behaviour in response to an attack, threat, or
frustration, usually motivated by anger (hostile aggression) attacking a person who
did the aggressive act
- Forms of aggression
Physical aggression: hostile behaviour that inflicts physical pain or discomfort
Verbal aggression: words that inflict pain by yelling, insulting, ridiculing, humiliating
Social aggression: non-verbal attacks or hurtful non-verbal gestures, such as rolling
the eyes or sticking out the tongue
Relational aggression: behaviour that damages or destroys interpersonal
relationships by means such as exclusion or gossip
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Direct aggression: physical or verbal hostile behaviour that directly targets
another person fact-to-face
Indirect aggression: hostile behaviour by an unidentified perpetrator that hurts
another person by indirect means not happening face-to-face and having a
grp of friends that gang up on someone (gossiping)
Patterns of aggression:
- Gender differences in aggression
By toddlerhood boys are more likely than girls to instigate and be involved in direct
physical aggressive incidents
Among 3-5 year olds, boys are more physically aggressive than girls and this
difference persists through adolescence
In adolescence, approximately 5 times as many boys as girls are arrested for violent
- Stability of individuals differences in aggression
Researchers have found that aggression is relatively stable over time for both boys
and girls, especially physical aggression
Early starters: children who start to behave aggressively at a young age and often
remain aggressive through childhood and adolescence
Later starters: children who begin to act aggressively in adolescence and tend not to
continue their aggressive behaviour in adulthood
Types of aggression
- Aggression can sometimes be adaptive
Adaptive: role in protection survival, and even developmental growth
Early childhood: aggressive interchanges can promote their social-cognitive
Middle childhood: aggression can be used as a to show off
Adolescence: aggressive prowess may be a key to rising in the status hierarchy of
a gang
Adaptive advantages may be mixed with maladaptive outcomes
Gaining status with peers especially deviant peers can lead to increases in
deviant activities and increased contact with authorities including law
May be advantageous to be more aggressive where there are fewer resources
available can start to contextualize the value of aggressive and why it may be
Causes of aggression
- Social influences on the development of aggression
Parents and interactive partners
Children are less likely to become aggressive if they establish secure
relationships with their parents in their first year
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