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PSYCH 2C03 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Observer-Expectancy Effect

Course Code
Jennifer Ostovich
Study Guide

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Psych 2C03 Oct 16th
Theories of Aggression social relevance: how do we get people less aggressive?
Definitions + lecture outline
- What is aggression? You intend harm as a result against some people, harm is physical or emotional or
Ex) how long, how many times do they press the shock generator? (Physical harm)
Ex2) As a result of aggression by some person, she killed herself (emotional harm)
- Gender difference in aggression? If so, why?
- How rational is aggression? Can we control aggressive responses? Is aggression rational response?
Gender differences evolutionary perspective:
1) Large gender differences in physical aggression
- Homicide rates comparing men vs. men/ women women - men are far more likely to engage in
homicide than women
- Men 40 times (huge) more likely to engages in same sex homicide. Why? vary
- Women rare but usually their daughter
2) Why would males be more physically aggressive than females?
- Due to gender differences in reproductive biology; mating reproductive success, you live to
- Different mating strategy: man (quantity): replenish-able sperms, easy, lower investment
- Woman (quality): expensive investment, lactating.. you are forced to spent your life time for having a
baby => therefore, Woman are quite choosy
- Man engage in competition for choosy mates: winner usually gets female (non-human)
- Successful man = biggest strong = aggressive behaviors = going to survive in males => even stronger
- Being aggressive seems aided in man general, for reproductive success; this is why man are more
aggressive than woman
- Due to Sexual dimorphism: gender is different in terms of physiology; males have more testosterone
than females
- Testosterone have identified as a hormone associated with aggression and dominance in competition
Ex) studies of prisoner in males and females males tends to have higher level of testosterone
- Winning increase testosterone, losing competition decrease testosterone=> associate with competition

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- Competition is not always aggression related; wrestling..
3) Gender differences in relational/ reputational aggression: gossip (being mean)
- woman are far more likely engage in relational/reputational aggression (reverse mans physical
- Why? biologically, females are forced to choose very wisely, they have to find best and very possible
- You find him, you have to fight against other woman; destroy other females reputation by making a
- you get to win by gossiping
Female perspective
- Maccoby & Jacklin (1974): review 20 articles = found significant difference in aggression across
gender, physically and verbally => but it is extremely small => its there, and we keep finding it
- also found significant difference in aggression across gender in different cultures
- Hyde meta-analysis: find articles on a given topic and, find data and put in one data set => come up
with statistical based opinion
- 75 different articles => there are very very small significant differences in aggression across gender;
men are physically more aggressive than women
- How does it interpreted? Gender difference is very small between gender, but huge within same
Overlapping distributions: men are significantly more physically aggressive than female
- Between genders = there is small significant difference of mean in male and female
- Within gender: wider distribution graph in female than male => more different among female then
between women and men => average aggressive female is far more aggressive than average
aggressive male! => more difference among women than between women and men or men and among
- Age was good predictor of gender difference in aggression: younger kids showing much bigger
difference of gender than university students (7 times bigger than kids under age 10)
- Why is it so big with kids and less big with adults? Method? With kids, we use unobtrusive method
such as field experiment; we just observe their behavior when they are playing around. In contrast,
with adults, we must bring them into the lab to observe their behavior.
- So when kids are being observed, they are not going to modify your behavior. However, when adults
are being observed, they tend to behave attentively because they know that someone is watching them.
- Observer bias? Condry & Ross (1985) - University students in labs to rate a video two kids playing
violently in snow (snow suited, they don’t know their gender) => when subjects are told their gender is
boy-boy, boy-girl, girl girl, or girl-boy. How will they rate their aggressiveness?
- Result: boy boy < boy girl < girl girl < girl boy

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- Why? Due to our expectation of how boys and girls should behave.. Boy-boys are always aggressive,
so its not aggressive! Girls should be less aggressive
- Boys aggression is minimized in our minds, but girls aggression is magnified in our minds (we don’t
expect that girls to be aggressive) => so actually, boys aggression might be bigger and smaller in girls
than we think
What will we see if we remove observer bias?
Implications of Condry & Ross data
- What size difference is usually found? Including observer bias (it is always there)
- What size difference might actually exist? (remove bias) males are more aggressive than we think they
are (bias minimizes male aggression), woman are less aggressive ( bias exaggerates female aggression)
- May exist subject bias too: male behave more aggressively because they know males are more
aggressive, and female behave less aggressively
- Gender difference may decrease in adults by culture difference and
- Gender differences in aggression are likely due to gender differences in adaptive utility of aggression;
for males, physical aggression is adaptive because it can show females their aggression level. For
female, relational aggression is adaptive because it can prevent other female beating them
- Gender expectations lead to observer biases that might distort information on gender and aggression;
how we perceive, and how we behave. Or might distort cultural acceptance of aggression across
- Why do people aggress? Is aggression an uncontrollable, automatic, and unconscious?
- OR can we use rational thought to prevent aggressive responding? Do people decide to aggresse? we
just don’t do it, we make rational choice
To what extent is aggression a rational response?
The frustration-aggression hypothesis (Miller and Dollard, Yale group)
1) Original version: Frustration Aggression
- Frustration will always lead to aggression; if someone is aggressive, they have been frustrated, it is
completely non-rational response. The only reason is because they are frustrated. If you are frustrated,
you are trapped to way leading to aggression
Evidence? Heat and aggression
- They do have very personal relationship; being too hot is frustrating
Lab experiment: over-heated room => expression? More aggressive (expt) vs. nice temp room (control)
- People are given a chance to give electric shock to others => subject in over-heated room is going to
shock more severely than subject in nice room temp
- Being too hot makes you aggressive!
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