Chapter Thirteen: Aggression

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Psychology & Brain Sciences
John Bickford

Social Psychology 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 ideological causes. *usually a mix of the two. Situational determinants of aggression: Heat,  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 aggression. Media violence,  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 game.  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 tendencies.  (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 posture. o When socially rejected the part of the brain known as the anterior cingulate, the part of the brain that processes painful stimuli, was activated. Income inequality, 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 economic inequality.  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, 1. Th
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