Chapter Thirteen: Aggression
Hostile aggression, refers to behavior motivated by feelings of anger and hostility
and whose primary aim is to harm another, either physically or psychologically.
Instrumental aggression, refers to behavior that is intended to harm another in
the service of motives other than pure hostility. People may harm others to gain
status, to attract attention, to acquire wealth, and to advance political and
*usually a mix of the two.
Situational determinants of aggression:
Anger literally raises the temperature of the body because of the increase
in blood pressure and the distribution of blood to certain places of the
body, such as the hands.
Research has shown that levels of aggression have been higher in places
with hotter climates. People are also more aggressive during the hotter
months (July and August).
In the hotter months, rape and violence rates can be expected to increase.
Heat increases arousal level, but people are typically unaware that heat is
the source of their arousal. When people encounter situations that prompt
anger, they attribute their anger to the situation/person and the
misattribution arousal gives rise to amplified feelings of anger and
Copycat violence refers to imitating violent act.
Violent media does indeed encourage more violent behavior.
People are more likely to act aggressively after watching violent films that
portray justified violence – violence against “bad people.”
(Eron and Huesmann) 211 boys in New York – Children who preferred to
watch violent TV at age eight were more likely to engage in serious
criminal activity by age thirty.
Violent video games,
(Anderson and Bushman) 43 undergraduate men and women played
either Mortal Kombat or PGA Tournament Golf. Participants who played
Mortal Kombat gave longer and more intense bursts of white noise to
their competitor than those who played the non-aggressive golf video
Five disturbing effects of playing violent video games,
1. Increases aggressive behavior.
2. Reduces prosocial behavior, such as helping or altruism
3. Increases aggressive thoughts.
4. Increases aggressive emotions. 5. Increases blood pressure and heart rate, physiological responses
associated with fighting and fleeing.
Social rejection and aggression,
Aggression can result from feelings of social rejection, which activates a
social defense system that involves stress-related cardiovascular arousal,
release of cortisol, feelings of distress or pain and defensive aggressive
(Kip Williams) Ball-tossing paradigm; like a foursquare setup, one
participant tosses the ball to two confederates. At a certain time, the two
confederates stop tossing the ball to the participant and only pass to one
another for five minutes. Being rejected by the confederates, caused the
participant to feel distress, shame, self-doubt, and a submissive, slouched
o When socially rejected the part of the brain known as the anterior
cingulate, the part of the brain that processes painful stimuli, was
In countries characterized by high economic inequality, the average citizen is
much more likely to be murdered, assaulter, or raped than in countries with less
Inequality throws males into competition for economic resources and
access to females – two sources of females that often lie behind murder
and other crimes.
Construal processes and aggression:
The frustration-aggression hypothesis,
(Miller and Dollard) The determinant of aggression is frustration, the thwarting
of an indvidual’s attempts to achieve some goal.
Aggression increases in direct proportion to,