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PSYB10 - Lec 10 (near verbatim) - Aggression & Pro-Social Behaviors.doc

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Elizabeth Page- Gould

PSYB10: Lec 10 Aggression and Pro-social behaviors Can be both aggressive and pro-social; different processes Aggression: o Intentional behavior thats aimed at either physical or psychological pain o Divide aggression into the type of pain that someone is trying to inflict and also about the goal of that pain; its always intentional, therefore there is always a goal o Types of pain: Physical pain Verbal or relational aggression = aggression where ppl are trying to inflict psychological pain either personally or as a function of your social status (relational type of pain = spread rumors about you = goal is to take you down in your social status) - o Since aggression is intentional, there has to be a goal o Hostile aggression (what we usually think of) vs. instrumental aggression thing that differentiates them is the goal o Hostile aggression = stems from anger = end goal = inflicting pain = I want you to feel thus Im acting aggressively towards you o Instrumental aggression = still a beh that inflicts pain (b/c pain is always an aspect of aggression) but key difference is that the pain itself isnt the end goal (its more means to the end; ex) somebody started spreading rumors b/c jealous about your social status with the end goal of bringing you down in status but in the process you get hurt (middle step = pain) Different Approaches to Aggression: Why did you act aggressively? (All of the answers below are part of the truth) Original answer: I was born that way aggression is some kind of genetic predisposition = idea that some ppl are just more aggressive than other ppl o Genetic predisposition? Aggression is evolutionarily adaptive Evidence that supports this idea: animals can be bred to be more aggressive some kind of heritable aspect to aggression Rottweilers = have been bred to be more aggressive Twin studies = show high levels of heritability for aggression (if you find that identical (MZ) twins are more similar in their levels of aggression than fraternal (DZ) twins suggests genetic predisposition for aggression Where is it? Amygdale focus; part of the limbic system associated with anger; stimulate amygdala in rats, they behave more aggressively causal claims; but depends on context b/c amygdale = both anger and fear Anger = approach motivated motion; fear = withdrawal motivated motion SO, amygdale doesnt always lead to aggression; sometimes leads to withdrawal (lack of aggression) What really matters in terms of whether fear and aggression is displayed is the relative social status of the animal that has had their amygdale stimulated If high in social status & think you can win the fight; stimulate amygdale, animal becomes aggressive; if animal low in social status, if you stimulate amygdale, the animal withdraws (fear) Prefrontal cortex also seems to be involved in aggression; esp PFC involved in the control/down-regulation of aggression If high level of PFC should be able to control aggressive impulses PFC = involved in planning and behavioural control thats why it also seems to be related to aggression Murderers (even compared to other non-violent criminals) tend to have less activity in PFC less control When you have normal ppl contemplate an aggressive act see activity in the PFC (so, Im thinking about being aggressive, but I dont really want to be, that automatically activates part of the brain thats involved in self-reg/ctrl) Relationship between testosterone and aggression Its only in physical aggression that men and women differ; if you include relational aggression, then youll find the sexes are rather similar, its just that we act out our aggression in diff ways Look at relative lengths of index finger and fourth finger; mens index finger = longer than fourth finger (opposite for women) related to exposure in womb to androgens The greater the discrepancy, the more aggressive beh suggestion that testosterone leads to greater aggression (only testosterone levels at the prenatal level determines level of aggression as an adult; if you inject testosterone when youre an adult = no changes in beh) Meta analyses to look at relationship between testosterone and aggression = weak correlation although there is still a correlation so they think that testosterone has small influence on aggression Relationship between serotonin and aggression: Inhibits aggressive responses; high levels = less likely to act on aggressive impulses Violent criminals have less 5HT in brain compared to non- violent criminals/controls If you give 5HT antagonist increase in aggression 5HT = big aspect in DOWN-REGULATING AGGRESSION; not necessarily if you feel aggression in the first place The booze made me do it chemical influence; otherwise wouldnt have done it o Alcohol Doesnt create aggression but it disinhibits behaviour in general GABA inhibitor = affects activity in PFC Seems to polarize your beh such that whatever is your natural tendency is going to come out more so when youre intoxicated; however, if your impulse is not to be aggressive, then alcohol is NOT going to make you aggressive Mean drunk = just keeping it together most of the time; but with alcohol they become aggressive b/c their natural tendency is to be aggressive its not that the beer made them that way Why this happens? Alcohol decreases self-consciousness leads to de- individuation directly related to being more aggressive Ppl plan less after drinking alcohol = thinking about consequences of their behaviour less major reason why maybe ppl may behave more aggressively under alcohol influence (b/c not thinking about consequences) Review of all crimes committed over a long period of time: 65% of all homicides; 55% domestic violence either assailant or victim were drinking alcohol idea of disinhibition Controlled condition: given alcohol or non-alcoholic beer; if given alcohol = then you give higher shocks in Milgrim style paradigm and hold down lever longer = also report more anger when thinking about conflict with romantic partner Was having a bad day (due to external circumstances) captured under frustration aggression theory o Situational influence o Frustration aggression hypothesis Ex: occupy movement, cops were unable to reach goal of moving protestors, so they inflicted pain to incapacitate them and then move them (instrumental aggression because end goal wasnt paint, it was to move them) As economic climate of southeast US went up, fewer race-based murders (lynchings); when times were bad, saw greater amounts of violence towards outgroup members Aggression stems from frustration
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