Lecture on April 9th: Aggression

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Psychology & Brain Sciences
John Bickford

Social Psychology, Lecture on April 9 th Aggression Aggression, intentional behavior aimed at causing unwanted physical or psychological harm. 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 submitted late. Influences on aggression: Biological factors,  Instinct.  Neurology. Chemical factors,  Testosterone. o Inmates not in normal population of prisons tend to have higher levels of testosterone.  Alcohol. o Reduces self-awareness and consider long-term consequences of their actions. 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 tension. 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 thoughts. Instrumental aggression, aggression that is t
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