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Chapter 12

PSYC 2310 Chapter 12 Notes.docx

Course Code
PSYC 2310
Jeffrey Yen

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Chapter 12
Emotional or hostile aggression: Aggression in which one inflicts harm for its own sake
on another
Eg. A jealous lover lashing out or soccer fans having a brawl in the stands after a game
Instrumental aggression: aggression in which one inflicts harm in order to obtain
something of value
Eg. Killing other in self-defence or to gain money or attention
Aggression: physical or verbal behaviour that is intended to harm another individual who is
motivated to avoid such treatment
1. Aggression is a behaviour that harms others
2. Harming others is intentional
3. The victim of the aggressive behaviour is motivated to avoid the harm the harm
is unwanted
How do Biological Factors Influence Aggression?
Men who had committed violent crimes, such as rape and assault in prison had higher
testosterone levels than men who had committed property crimes, such as burglary and
Similarly, men with higher testosterone levels violated more rules while in prison
Instinct and Evolutionary Theories
Freud believed that people possess a powerful death wish or drive which in order to cope
with it people need to channel this energy either towards others in engaging in aggression
against people or inward and engage in self-destructive behaviour
Catharsis: release of suppressed energy or emotion
o This relates to the idea that we need to release built-up tension by “blow off some
steam” “Get it off your chest”
o But science shows us that this may actually increase aggression as higher levels of
initial aggressive behaviour can lead to increasing levels of aggression later which
can act as a reward
Lorenz came up with the instinct theory of aggression which is a theory that describes
aggression as innate biological drive as only aggressive animals will survive
o These theories suggest while in almost all societies, men are more aggressive than
women and as a result more violence is done towards women

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o Aggression is often caused by a loved one
50% of the variance in aggression may be caused by genetics factors
Children who are highly aggressive early in life are more likely to be aggressive later
partaking in serious aggressive acts including criminal behaviour
Studies have shown that aggression is stable over years
Testosterone lead to an increased readiness to respond assertively to provocation and
threats and makes people more impatient and irritable
Those with higher testosterone in both men and women were more aggressive
The link between aggression and testosterone may be bidirectional
The gender difference in aggressive behaviour may be also due to evolutionary factors in
their role of protecting women
Social learning theory: a theory that describes behaviour as learned by observing or
modeling others’ behaviour as well as by the presence of punishments and rewards or
Men and women are taught differently about aggressive behaviour. While it is accepted
and sometimes praised for men to be aggressive, it is looked down upon for women
Provocation reduces the impact of gender role norms in aggression
The Link Between Alcohol Use and Aggression
One way alcohol use increases aggression is through disinhibition
o People may be inhibited from acting aggressively because of consequences of
such behaviour but intoxication reduces such concerns
Alcohol also interferes with information processing
o Eg. men who have been drinking may have trouble seeing their dating partner’s
side of a conflict and thus feel more anger towards them
Also contextual factors present in the environment of alcohol consumption have a role in
increasing aggression
Frustration-Aggression Theory
Frustration-aggression theory: a theory that frustration always leads to the desire to behave
aggressively, and that aggression is caused by frustration
Frustration is defined as when people are prevented from having something they want
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