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PSYC 215 (296)
John Lydon (79)
Chapter 13


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PSYC 215
John Lydon

SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY CHAPTER 13 NOTES AGGRESSION Situational Determinants of Aggression  Hostile aggression: behavior intended to harm another, either physically or psychologically, and motivated by feelings of anger and hostility  Instrumental aggression: behavior intended to harm another in the service of motives other than pure hostility (like to attract attention or acquire wealth)  Certain genes have been found to predispose aggression, but these genes only lead to aggressive behavior under certain circumstances (both nature and nurture)  Factors that arouse aggression:  Heat o Anger raises body temperature by raising blood pressure o People are more violent in hotter regions and during hotter months than cooler months (with the exception of December) (Anderson) o Major league baseball pitchers are more likely to hit batters as the weathers gets hotter o Global warming may attribute to more violence in recent times o It‟s possible that people misattribute their being overheated by the weather to being frustrated by people and situations they encounter or specifically associate their hotness to feelings of anger  Media Violence o Western media is saturated with violence; 90% of shows children watch portray some kind of violence o Copycat violence: people try to replicate specific violent acts depicted in the media (i.e. John Hinckley assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan) o Aggressive media makes people act more aggressively o Short-term effects:  Violent pornography in particular makes increases the endorsement of violence against women  People tend to be more aggressive after seeing films in which they identify with the perpetrator of the violent act or in which the acts of violence portrayed are justified (violence against „bad people‟)  If people are led to direct their focus towards other aspects of a violent film, they are less likely to be aggressive o Long-term effects:  Early exposure to violence leads to aggression later in life  Violent TV consumption at a young age may lead to greater criminal activity later in life, too  Violent Video Games o Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, avid violent video game users, may have been inspired to bring these games to life when they killed fellow classmates, then themselves, at Columbine High School in 1999 o Anderson & Bushman have done various studies linking effects of playing violent video games to real-life aggression in players o According to their studies, playing violent video games:  Increases aggressive behavior, reduces pro-social behavior like altruism or helping, increases aggressive thoughts, increases aggressive emotions, and increases blood pressure and heart rate o These effects were observed in children as well as adult women and men  Social Rejection and Aggression o A hypothesis for why Harris and Klebold committed their horrible acts of violence at Columbine were that they were socially rejected and ostracized o Throughout the course of human evolution, social rejection has been a death sentence, given our dependence on others for food, shelter, defense, and affection (Leary & MacDonald) o Social rejection has come to activate stress-related cardiovascular arousal, release of the stress hormone cortisol, feelings of distress and pain, and defensive aggressive tendencies o Social cues- like sneering or eye rolls or hearing a superior‟s critical tone of voice- activate our threat defense system and aggressive responses o People who feel rejected report higher rates of chronic physical pain o People who report a chronic sense of rejection are more likely to resort to aggression and even physical abuse in romantic relationships  Income Inequality o Economic inequality increases violence in countries and within American states, ones with higher rates of economic inequality have higher rates of homicide o One explanation for this phenomenon is that individuals of lower socioeconomic status feel more social rejection that triggers violence o Another explanation hypothesizes that these rates of violence are due to neighborhoods being less cohesive due to the inequality  Studies have shown that more cohesive neighborhoods experience less violent crimes o An evolutionary explanation for this could be that economic inequality forces males to feel the need to fight over economic resources and females Construal Processes and Aggression  The Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis o Miller and Dollard hypothesized that the sole determinant of aggression is frustration  Frustration: the internal state that accompanies the thwarting of an attempt to achieve some goal  They proposed that aggression increases in proportion to:  The amount of satisfaction the person anticipates receiving from meeting their goal before it‟s blocked  How completely the person is blocked from achieving it  How frequently the person is blocked from achieving it  How close the individual believes he or she is to achieving the goal  Study of people cutting in movie lines supported this hypothesis  Critiques of the Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis o Research findings indicate that aggression can also follow stimuli that do not block goal-directed behavior o Frustration also does not always lead to aggression; it can lead to other responses, depending on how the person construes frustration  Learned helplessness: passive and depressive responded that individuals show when their goals are blocked and they feel that they have no control over their outcomes  A Neo-Associationistic Account of Aggression o How we interpret the events that block us from our goal has a great effect on how we construe the associated frustration  Events that we view as intentional cause more aggression than those we construe as accidental o Leonard Berkowitz neo-associationistic account of aggression maintained that anger-related construals are the key process that make people respond aggressively to aversive stimuli
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