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Psychology and Social Behavior
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Raymond Novaco

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Multifactorial Risk Violence & Society • The causes of violence are multiple, and its determinants or risk factors exist at multiple levels of analysis, from the macrosocial to the biological. ▯ there is no “root cause” of violence Raymond W. Novaco Uni ivetitfyilofiCIaliifornia, Irvine • The absence of an isolated cause makes prevention and treatment difficult. Public health models for illness remedy P178/C149 and prevention (removal of disease-producing bacteria or toxins or inoculations against viruses) are not so viable. Fall 2014 ▯ this is especially the case because violence occurs lecture notes for January 9th in dynamic and rather turbulent social-environmental systems Severe Mental Illness in LA County Jail (TT) Pollack, Mulings, & Crouch (2006) Violent Women Inmates J. Interpersonal Violence Lamb, Weinberger, Marsh, and Gross (2007) Psychiatric Services. • random sample of 106 inmates March 2002 – August 2002 Texas prison sample: 657 women, average age 33 yrs, ▯ 42% African-Am, 40% Caucasian; 81% were mothers after mental health screening) ▯ high school non-complete: 70%; 36% unemployed Psychiatric Diagnoses -- 75% severe MI ▯ face to face interviews (averaging 70 minutes) bipolar disorder 23% ▯1449 had violenttoffense orsellffeporred serrous violence MDD with psychotic features 5% schizophrenia 32% schizoaffective disorders 15% those violent were more likely to be: MDD w/o psychotic features 6% ▯ younger, African-Am, and unemployed; ▯ 73% were living with children at time of arrest • 95 % had prior arrests (72% of these were for violent crimes) ▯ fewer adult probations; higher rates of all crim. behaviors • 92% had history of non-compliance with psych medications ▯ more lifetime domestic disputes & childhood maltreatment • 28% homeless • 76% history of SA ▯ 36% beaten by adult; 42% sexually abused/raped as child • 95% had presence of overt psychotic symptoms in the jail Violence Functions violence functions, continued Intrinsic to the notion of functionality are the concepts of system, utility/purpose, structure, adaptation, and survival. In the social sphere, • the universe demonstrates principles of organization and Robert Merton: of structures organized as systems (e.g., physical level— • persistence is evidence of function solar system, human organism) ▯ the “big bang” origin of the universe was “violent” ▯ Violence has most certainly been persistent • activity within the universe is represented as energy flow, typically following principles of regulation, but sometimes Have we as humans become more violent? it is catastrophic ▯ we are no more violent today than we ever ▯ the Chinese word for anger is “sheng-chi” have been – indeed, we have become more civilized 1 Violence: core survival value functions Romulus & Remus with shewolf (Siena) 1. survival maintenance • defense of self, loved ones, and resources • for humans, defense of symbols and their promulgation implies… 2. acquisition of resources • used to get what is needed or desired • given finite resources or differential demand for bountiful resources, violence has utility ▯ given that human nature is flawed, violence is likely to be used by some (albeit small) proportion of the population, despite proscribed norms and punishments Sabine women – Jacques-Louis David (1796-99; Louvre) Extended social system value functions The core survival value functions ofviolence have extensions to social systems, conferring adaptive advantage characteristics. 3. societal unification • given geographic/political boundaries, external threat has a non- zero likelihood; violence, as external threat, encourages activities that promote efficient defense and well-being of the community 4. sustains social bonds • the presence or threat of violence reinforces social bonds that encourage procreation and promote production of resources extended social system functions, continued extended social system functions, continued 5. system ordering 7. sustains conceptions of “good” and “just” by demarcating • induces a hierarchical ordering of the social system, “evil” people and “bad” behavior legitimizing external controls for the minimization of conflict and optimizing production • violence is intrinsic to the norm of retaliation and the redressing of grievances • fosters establishment of regulatory mechanisms, such as laws, tl i l l ih ttiattgehedst,iand punishments that then serve to instill internal control 8. ventilation/discharge 6. reinforces regulatory structures • gives expression to anger and distress providing (perceived) relief of aversive arousal states, thus having • structures established to curtail violence (laws, police, and cathartic value (albeit temporary or illusory) courts) are reinforced by violence and are thereby granted greater legitimacy in extension to non-violent rule-breaking or disputes about entitlement 2 extended social system functions, continued Rome - Coliseum 9. freedom representational • constitutes a deviation from prevailing regulatory codes and thereby represents demonstration of freedom, autonomy, liberty, and power 10. entertainment value • in both direct and vicarious forms, it produces arousal and enhancement of sensation ▯ violence has become a commodity having economic value Definitions Anger A negatively toned emotion, subjectively experienced as an aroused Anger is Janus-Faced state of antagonism toward someone or something perceived to be the source of an aversive event. Frustration Either a situational blocking or impeding of behavior toward There is a duality of psychosocial images depicting anger: a goal or the subjective feeling of being thwarted in attempting to reach a goal. Hostility: An attitudinal disposition of antagonism toward another person ▯ eruptive, destructive, unbridled, savage, venomous, orroccall ssym. IItt rreepprreesseennttssaapprreeddiisswiitthhaaggggrreessssiioonnpoonnddw under conditions of perceived threat. burning, and consuming Aggression Behaviorintended to cause psychological or physical harm to someone or to a surrogate target. The behavior may be verbal or physical. ▯ energizing, empowering, justifying, signifying, rectifying, and relieving Violence Seriously injurious aggressive behavior, typically having some largersocietal significance. One set of metaphors connotes something pressing for Novaco (1998). Aggression. In H. Friedman (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Mental Health. expression and utilization; the other implies something Academic Press. requiring containment and control, with links to madness. Seven Deadly Sins Hieronymus Bosch 1485 Dysregulated Anger high frequency - considerable cultural variation; but generally, becoming angry every day is normatively high short latency -rosattrtof mitigating factors and consequences of one’s behavior high intennssiytty -highintensityangerisalmostalwaysproblematic; impairs information processing, overrides inhibitory controls, and interferes with behavioral efficiency long duration -prolongsautonomicarousal,sets-up“excitationtransfer” & fuels rumination; impairs functioning and positive inputs violent expression -harm-doingbehavior;escalation;impairedrelationships 3 Anger: Functional or Problematic? Functions of Anger • Anger is a normal emotion with positive functions Energizing Focusing ▯ function implies adaptive significance Expressive Defensive • The adaptive value of anger hinges on itsregulation Signaling Instigative ▯ regulation implies adjustment to context & goals • Anger isneither necessary nor sufficient for aggression Potentiating Dramaturgical ▯ just because someone is angry does not mean that they will act violently Novaco, R. W. (1976). The functions and regulation of the arousal of anger. American ▯ just because someone acts violently does not mean that Journal of Psychiatry, 133, 1124-1128. they were angry to begin with Gurr, T. (1989). Historical Trends in Violent Crime Gurr, T. (1989). Historical Trends in Violent Crime What is Gurr’s position on the upward trend in violent crime What is Gurr’s approach? On what does he base his assertions? that was observed in the US in the late 1960s and into the 1970s, and what would he say about the further peak in • he reviews homicide in medieval and modern England homicide rates in the early 1990s? ▯ uses coroner’s reports and other scholarly sources e..,, James Givens((197)7() (UCI Pfrofessorf of Hisyt)ory) What is Gurr’s thesis about long-term historical trends in th violent crime? On what does he base his assertions? • he plots homicide rates from 1200 – end of 20 C • traces violent crime during 19 and 20 C in England & USA What is Gurr’s explanation for the long-term historical trend? He offers a social dynamic explanation. What are the main concepts in his explanatory account? • finds overall decline in violent crime since medieval period • notes upturns after Civil War, immigration influx, baby boom Gurr (1989) -- historical trends explained Mennell (2006) – “civilizing process” • characterizations of recent upward trends in violent crime have • 1939 book by Norbert Elias, which aimed to explain the civilizing been mistaken oversimplifications and truncations of fact of violence in terms of progressive increases in self-restraint ▯ recent upsurge is simply latest deviation from long-term trend • Men
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