Social Psychology, Lecture on April 9 th
Aggression, intentional behavior aimed at causing unwanted physical or
Consider: Are these examples of aggression?
A cat kills a mouse.
A parent spanks her child for misbehaving.
A farmer kills a chicken and prepares it for dinner.
A wrestler intentionally grabs his opponent’s sore knees.
A soldier kills an enemy in combat.
A dentist pulls a patient’s tooth.
A child teases a classmate for having braces.
A woman strikes an attacker with a heavy object.
A convicted murderer is executed.
A teacher lowers a student’s grade on an assignment because it was
Influences on aggression:
o Inmates not in normal population of prisons tend to have higher
levels of testosterone.
o Reduces self-awareness and consider long-term consequences of
Drive theories (push factors):
Aggression stems from an externally induced drive to harm others.
o Frustration-aggression hypothesis (Dollard).
Frustration always produces aggression.
Aggression always results from frustration.
Frustration triggers a rive to do harm, usually to the source
of the frustration.
Aggression is therefore cathartic or a release of built up
o Cognitive-neoassociationist model (Berkowitz).
External source produces negative effect. Which in turn
activates either a fight or flight response tendency.
Aggressive cues make a fight response more likely.
Weapon theory, if there’s a weapon in the vicinity then you
are more likely to use it/want to use it/act more aggressively. The gun’s presence activates more violent and aggressive
Instrumental aggression, aggression that is t