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Chapter 11

PSYC 215 Chapter Notes - Chapter 11: Female Genital Mutilation, Cheq Wong Language, Relational Aggression

Course Code
PSYC 215
Michael Sullivan

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Chapter 11 Aggression
What is aggression?
1. Aggression: behavior intended to harm another individual.
2. Aggression comes in many forms:
Extreme acts of aggression are called violence.
Anger consists of strong feelings of displeasure in response to a perceived injury;
the exact nature of the feelings depends on the situation.
Hostility is a negative, antagonistic attitude toward another person or group.
3. People can be angry without being hostile and vice versa
4. Instrumental aggression (proactive aggression): inflicting harm in order to obtain
something of value. (however, if the person finds another way to get the gain they
wanted, they will not inflict harm)
5. Emotional aggression (reactive aggression): inflicting harm for its own sake
Culture, gender, and Individual differences
1. The highest levels of aggression are found in individualistic cultures, medium levels of
aggression are found in cultures with intermediate levels of collectivism and
individualism, and low levels are found in collective cultures (Forbes)
2. The form of violence typically takes, and people’s attitudes toward various kinds of
aggression, also differ internationally. (U.S.A Guns)
3. Cultures also differ in their attitudes about aggression.
Respondents from Europe were more approving of a husband slapping a wife
than were the respondents from Australia
4. What is considered to be aggression and unacceptable in relation to children also can
differ across cultures.
5. Female genital mutilation: Cultures that practice it considers it to be part of a sacred
ritual whereas the rest of the world thinks that it is an act of aggression
6. Bullying around the world
Bullying behavior appears to peak in the middle school years, from Grade 6-8,
and is increasingly seen as the form of cyberbullying.
Bullying can lead to extraordinary suffering, including feelings of panic,
nervousness, and distraction in school; recurring memories of abuse; depression
and anxiety that can endure through adulthood; and even suicide.
7. Non-violent Cultures
There are a handful of societies that stand out as non-violent places
Chewong, Amish, Hutterites,
Bota: these societies strongly oppose competition and endorse cooperation in all
aspects of their lives. This raises the possibility that cooperation and lack of
completion may promote non-violence.
8. Subcultures within a country
An increase in an aging population leads to a decline in violence.
People tend to murder within their race
Black Americans live in a much more violent America than do white Americans.
The murder rate in the south is higher, followed by the west

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Culture of honor encourages violent responses to perceived threats against one’s
status as an honorable, powerful man
Gender and Aggression
1. Men are more violent than woman
2. Men commit the very large majority of homicides, and men comprise the very large
majority of murder victims.
3. Men are consistently more physically aggressive than females. (Archer)
4. Boys tend to be more overtly aggressive than girls, girls are often more indirectly, or
relationally, aggressive than boys.
5. Indirect forms of aggression include accts such as telling lies to get someone in trouble
or shutting them out of desired activities.
6. Relation aggression is a kind of indirect aggression, particularly targeting a person’s
relationships and social status.
7. Females tend to resort to relation aggression because they care more about
relationships and intimacy than men.
Individual Differences
1. Aggression in childhood does predict aggression in adolescence and adulthood, along
with adult criminality, alcohol abuse, and other antisocial behaviors.
2. Research that examined indirect aggression in French-Canadian children and indirect
aggression: children who are better able to understand the perspective of others were
more likely to use indirect aggression.
3. Children with the ability to take another’s perspective were therefore more likely to also
have the requisite skills to manipulate, and to spread rumors, without getting caught.
4. (Barlett and Aggression): link between the presence of traits such as disagreeableness
and extraversion and the likelihood of noticing and reacting to aggression.
5. (Ann Betancourt) People who tend to hold hostile cognitions, express anger, and exhibit
irritability tend to behave more aggressively.
Origins of Aggression
Is aggression innate?
1. Evolutionary Psychology:
David Livingstone Smith: origins of warfare: human originated not only to obtain
valuable resources, but also to attract mates and be accepted as part of the
group. Warriors are more likely to attract mates; thereby, they would have higher
chances of reproduction and pass down their genes from future generations.
Evolutionary theories emphasize genetic survival rather than the survival of the
(Daly and Wilson): birth parents are much less likely to abuse or murder their
own offspring than step-parents are to harm stepchildren
Males are competitive with each other because females select high-status males
for mating, and aggression is a means by which males traditionally have been
able to achieve status,

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Behaviors triggered by sexual jealousy, including aggression and the threat of
aggression, may be designed to enhance the male’s confidence in his paternity
of offspring.
Male to male violence is more likely to occur when a man’s status and social
power is threatened.
(Stirrat) men with narrower faces are more likely die a violent death than men
with wider faces because they lack physical dominance.
Men with wider faces are better fighters and are also more likely to get into fights
Evolution favored women who were committed to protecting their children.
Females aggress to defend their offspring against threats by others.
(Campbell): Females tend to place a higher value on protecting their own lives,
again, so as to protect their offspring.
2. Behavior Genetics
Behavior genetics focuses of genetic transmission and behavior.
In twin studies, monozygotic twins are compared with dizygotic twins
On any heritable trait, monozygotic twins will be more similar than dizygotic
twins; and adopted children would be more similar to their parents.
There’s much stronger evidence for the role of genes in physical aggression than
in indirect, relational aggression.
(Brendge) found that when environmental stressors were present, there’s a
greater likelihood that a genetic predisposition for aggression is activated.
A child with a maladaptive predisposition encounters a pro-social environment;
aggressive behavior is reduced and positive peer to peer interactions increase.
3. The Role of Testosterone
There’s a positive relationship between the level of testosterone and aggression.
This relationship is not exclusively in men, it is also present in women
There’s a correlation between finger-length ratio, levels of testosterone, and
Men with more masculine finger-length ratios had higher scores for the trait of
physical aggression. (Bailey and Hurd)
Alternative Explanations:
oAggression can temporary increase the levels of testosterone
oHigher levels of stress are associated with higher levels of testosterone
and aggression
Experiment on transsexuals: an increase in male hormones, made the female-to
male transsexuals more aggressive whereas a decrease in male hormones,
made male-to female transsexuals less aggressive; however, it is important to
note that this result may be due to their expections.
4. The Role of Serotonin
Low levels of serotonin in the nervous system of humans and many animals are
associated with high levels of aggression.
Drugs that boost serotonin’s activity can dampen aggressiveness, along with a
range of other impulsive and socially deviant behaviors.
5. Brain and Executive Functioning:
Researchers have linked abnormalities in frontal lobe structures with tendencies
toward aggressiveness and violent behavior.
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