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Chapter 12

Chapter 12- Aggression.docx

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Queen's University
PSYC 241
Tara Mac Donald

CH 12 AGGRESSION Nov 20/ 2011 1. What is aggression? Aggression - Aggression is intentional action aimed at doing harm or causing pain - The action can be physical or verbal and might succeed in its goal or not. - There are 2 kinds of aggression: Hostile aggression 1. Hostile aggression: aggression stemming from feelings of anger and aimed at inflicting pain Instrumental aggression 2. Instrumental aggression: aggression as a means to some goal other than causing pain o Ex. Hurt others to make yourself feel good Violence - Violence is aggression that intends to cause extreme harm as its goal Antisocial behaviour - Antisocial behaviour: aggressive behaviour that either damages interpersonal relationships or is culturally undesirable – harms others or society. Inborn / Learned Aggression - Hobbes viewed humans as naturally self-interested creatures who seek own well Hobbes being even if this leads to aggressing against others Rousseau - Rousseau argued the opposite and though humans were by nature compassionate Freud loners and their behaviour is malleable; it changes with changes in the societies within which humans live - Thus, the brutish traits that Hobbes attributes to human nature are actually caused by the type of society that Hobbes’s contemporaries lived in and not essential human nature. - Freud theorized that humans are born with an instinct toward life (Eros) and an instinct toward death (Thanatos), which strives to ruin and reduce life - Aggressive energy must come out somehow, lest it continue to build up and produce illness - This notion was characterized as a ‘hydraulic theory’ – similar to water pressure building up in a container: unless energy is released, it will produce some sort of explosion. - Society performs an essential function in regulating these instincts and in helping people sublimate them 2. Internal Causes of - Factors that reside in aggressor Aggression 1. Hostile attribution bias: tendency to perceive ambiguous actions by others Hostile cognitive biases as aggressive o Ex. If you’re joking with a friend and he’s teasing you, you might think ‘he’s attacking me’ 2. Hostile perception bias: Tendency to perceive social interaction in general as being aggressive o Ex. If your friends are talking loudly, you perceive it as an argument and they’re getting ready for a fight 3. Hostile expectation bias: tendency to assume that people will react to potential conflicts with aggression so you need to retaliate with aggression. o Ex. You think ‘he will fight back’ Frustration - Frustration occurs when a person is thwarted on the way to an expected goal or gratification - Frustration-aggression theory: the idea that frustration increases the probability of an aggressive response. - Several factors increase aggression: 1. Closeness to the goal - The closer to the goal, the greater the expectation of pleasure that is thwarted and likelier the aggression o Ex. Confederate cut in front of 2 person in line or 12 person, the nd 2 person was more aggressive. 2. Aggression also increases when the frustration is unexpected o Ex. Students worked on a commission basis, they received a small fraction of each dollar pledged o Some students were led to believe they would be more successful or less but they didn’t know the experiment was rigged so none would contribute o The callers with high expectations were more verbally aggressive - Relative deprivation of a goal – if you have less than you deserve, less than what you have been led to expect or less than what people similar to you have causes aggression. 3. Size/ Strength of person responsible for frustration or the ability of that person to retaliate. Neural and Chemical - Aggressive behaviors in humans as well as lower animals are associated with the Influences on Aggression amygdala - When the amygdala is stimulated, docile organisms become violent and when activity is blocked, violent organisms become docile - Social factors can modify neural mechanisms o Ex. If a male monkey is in the presence of more dominant monkeys, and his amygdala is stimulated, he will not attack but will run away instead. - Serotonin has an inhibiting effect on impulsive aggression - Testosterone can cause aggression when there’s too much of it - Boys appear to be more aggressive than girls in terms of physical violence - Relational/ indirect/ passive aggression: girls tend to express their aggressive Gender Difference feelings more covertly – by gossiping, engaging in more backbiting, and spreading Maccoby & Jacklin false rumors about the target person - In everyday life, men behave more aggressively than women - But when people are subjected to frustration or insult, women will react almost as aggressively as men o Ex. Road rage: men are more likely to think of road rage as a threat to their masculinity but women take such occurrences in stride. - Even in other cultures, young men showed a greater tendency for violence. - Although biochemical differences play a big role, culture can have some effect – women from Australia and New Zealand showed greater evidence of aggressiveness than men from Sweden/ Korea - Of all the violent crimes committed against intimate partners, 22% were committed by males and 3% were by females. 3. External Causes of Aggression Alcohol - Alcohol lowers our inhibitions against acting in ways frowned on by society, including acts of aggression - Intoxicated people respond to the earliest and most obvious aspects of a social situation and tend to miss the subtleties - If an animal is in pain and cannot flee the scene, it will attack their own species, Pain, Discomfort different species or anything in sight. o Students who underwent the pain of having their hand immersed in cold water were more likely to act aggressively against other students. - Bodily discomfort, such as heat, humidity, air pollution, and offensive odors lower the threshold for aggressive behavior - Provocation - When provoked, people don’t always reciprocate because we want to evaluate whether it was intentional or not and if there are mitigating circumstances, counter-aggression will not occur - When students were insulted by the experimenter’s assistant, those who were told he was upset after receiving an unfair grade on a chemistry exam gave him smaller zaps than those who were told after zapping the assistant. Weapons Effect Berkowitz and Le Page - The mere presence of an aggressive stimulus, like a gun can increase the probability of aggression - In this experiment, students were made angry in a room in which a gun was left lying around and others were made angry in a room in which a neutral object (badminton racket) was substituted for the gun - They were given the opportunity to administer what they believed were electric shocks to a fellow college student and those in presence of gun gave more intense shocks. - American teenagers were more likely to anticipate a violent conclusion to the conflict of a story than other cultures because they have an expectation that lethal violence is a major part of American society. Imitation Bandura - Social learning theory : the idea that we learn social behaviour by observing - An adult knocked around a plastic, air-filled Bobo doll – strike it with mallet, kick it…etc - Wh
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