PSYC 241 - Chapter 11 - Aggression

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Queen's University
PSYC 241
Roderick C L Lindsay

Chapter 11: Aggression What is Aggression? Aggression: Behaviour intended to harm another individual Distinguishing sub-sets: Violence: extreme acts of aggression Anger: strong feelings of displeasure in response to a perceived injury Hostility: negative, antagonist attitude toward another person or group - People can be angry + regard them with hostility without ever trying to harm them - Aggression can occur without anger or hostility (hit men) Instrumental aggression: harm is inflicted as a mean to a desired end - Aggression aimed at harming someone for personal gain, attention, or self-defence Proactive aggression: if the aggressor believes there is an easier way to obtain the goal, the aggression will not occur Reactive aggression: harm inflicted for its own sake Emotional Aggression: the means and the end coincide - Often impulsive, heat of the moment, a product of jealousy or rage - May be calm, cool, and calculated – revenge - Instrumental and emotional aggression may not be distinct categories, but on a continuum Culture, Gender, and Individual Differences - Rates of murder, rape, and assault in the Americas about double the world averages - High rates of single parenthood - Individualistic culture – less concerned with social harmony and avoidance of open conflict - Rate of violent crime: UK > US - Murder rate: US > UK – prevalence of guns? - 70% of murders gun-related - Non-violent societies: oppose competition and endorse cooperation - The large majority of murders are intraracial rather than interracial - Men > women in violence and physical aggression across all cultures - Women > men in indirect or relational aggression - Emotional susceptibility, narcissism, impulsivity - traits associated with aggression - Only when provoked – light a short fuse - Type A personality – tendency to be driven by feelings of inadequacy to try and prove oneself through personal accomplishments Origins of Aggression Evolutionary Psychology - Human warfare originated to obtain valuable resources, attract mates, and forge intragroup bonds - Individuals who could and would fight had greater changes for reproductive success - Females attack those who come to close to their offspring – maternal aggression - Males become sexually jealous – paternal uncertainty, challenging status against other males - Men with larger, more masculine finger-length ratios reported being more threatening and physically aggressive toward their female dating partners - Higher stress and aggression can cause higher levels of testosterone - Low levels of serotonin are associated with high levels of aggression - Impaired prefrontal processing can disrupt executive functioning – planning or inhibiting actions, responding to situations in a reasoned, flexible manner - Poor exe
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