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Chapter 9

PSY220 chapter 9 textbook notes

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Dax Urbszat

CHAPTER 9 WHAT IS AGGRESSION? -aggression: physical/verbal behaviour intended to hurt someone -animals show social aggression (displays of rage) and silent aggression (predator stalking prey) -humans show hostile and instrumental aggression -hostile aggression: driven by anger and performed as an end in itself  goal is to injure -example: most murders -instrumental aggression: also aims to injure but only as a means to some other end -example: most wars and terrorism WHAT ARE SOME THEORIES OF AGGRESSION? Aggression as a biological phenomenon -instinct theory and evolutionary psychology -Freud  aggression springs from self-destructive impulse -Lorenz  aggression adaptive -both agreed aggression is instinctive behaviour -instinctive behaviour: innate, unlearned behaviour pattern displayed by all members of a particular species -if not released, aggression supposedly accumulates until it explodes or is “released” by a stimulus -instinct theory fails to explain why aggression varies between different people and different cultures -aggression evolutionary adaptive according to Buss and Shackelford -strategy for gaining resources, defending from attack, intimidating/eliminating male rivals, deterring mates from sexual infidelity -helps explain high male-male aggression levels -Neural influences -no single spot in brain that controls aggression -researchers have found neural systems in humans/animals that facilitate aggression (ex: stimulate amygdale) -hostility increases when activated, decreases when deactivated -Raine discovered through brain scans that the prefrontal cortex (acts as an emergency break in areas involved with aggression) was 14% less active in murderers and 15% smaller in antisocial men -other studies have confirmed abnormal brains can contribute to abnormal levels of aggression -genetic influences -heredity influences the neural system’s sensitivity to aggressive cues -Lagerspetz bred normal albino mice -most aggressive bred together and least aggressive together -after 26 generations had a set of fierce mice and a set of placid mice -an individual’s temperament observed in infancy usually endures -ex: non-aggressive at 8 likely be non-aggressive at 48 -neither “bad” genes nor “bad” environment by themselves predispose later aggressiveness and antisocial behaviour -genes predispose some children to be more sensitive and responsive to maltreatment -nature and nurture interact -biochemical influences -alcohol -when provoked, alcohol unleashes aggression in people -alcohol enhances aggressiveness by decreasing people’s self-awareness, by focusing their attention on a provocation and by people mentally associating alcohol with aggression -testosterone -lower animals seem to be more influenced by hormonal influences than humans -drugs that lower testosterone levels will decrease aggressive tendencies in violent human males -after age 25 testosterone and rates of violent crime decrease together -men with low testosterone are somewhat less likely to react aggressively when provoked -low serotonin -low level of serotonin, impulse-controlling frontal lobes have many receptors -low serotonin levels often seen in violence-prone children and adults -decrease serotonin levels in lab increases response to aversive events  more likely to retaliate against unfairness and deliver shocks -interaction between biology and behaviour -some people are predisposed to react aggressively to conflict and provocation due to neural, genetic and biochemical influences Aggression as a response to frustration -frustration-aggression theory: frustration triggers a readiness to aggress -frustration: anything that blocks our attainment of a goal -increases when motivation to achieve a goal is strong, expected gratification and then blocked -displacement: the redirection of aggression to a target other than the source of the frustration...usually the new target is safer or more socially acceptable -displaced aggression most likely when target shares some similarity to the instigator and aggression is unleashed when target does some minor irritating act -a small offence that normally wouldn’t produce a response may cause a huge overreaction -experiment: experimenter insult performance of group of students while solving an anagram test -students then had to decide how long another supposed student would have to keep their hand immersed in painfully cold water -those who were insulted gave longer times -frustration-aggression theory revised -lab tests of the frustration-aggression theory produced mixed results whether frustration increases aggression -if frustration understandable (ex: someone’s hearing aid malfunctioned rather than them not paying attention) led to irritation but not aggression -less likely to respond aggressively if person apologizes, accepts responsibility or tries to make amends -Berkowitz hypothesized that frustration produces anger, an emotional readiness to aggress -anger increases when the person who frustrates us could have chosen to act otherwise -frustration is in the eye of the beholder -when expectations are fulfilled by your attainments, desires reachable at your income, feel satisfied rather than frustrated -relative deprivation -relative deprivation: perceiving oneself as less well off than those one usually compares themselves with (feeling deprived) -absolute deprivation (lacking what others have) Aggression as learned social behaviour -the rewards of aggression -aggression is instrumental in achieving certain rewards (ex: animals transformed into ferocious fighters, child who intimidate others through their aggressive acts will become increasingly aggressive) -observational learning -social learning theory: by observing and imitating and by being rewarded and punished, we learn social behaviour -experiment by Bandura: child doing an art activity while an adult in another part of the room has tinker toys, mallet and “Bobo” doll -after playing with tinker toys for a couple minutes, adult attacks “Bobo” for 10 minutes with mallet while yelling things like “kick him” “knock him down” -child put in different room with many attractive toys but after a few minutes of playing is told that these are being saved for other children -frustrated child goes to another room with various toys including a mallet and “Bobo” doll -those who viewed the angry adult lashed out at the doll just like the adult did and even said the same words -those who didn’t view the adult played calmly -observing adult’s aggressive behaviour had lowered the child’s inhibitions and taught them ways to aggress -the family -physically aggressive children tend to have physially punitive (screaming, slapping, beating) parents -family influence appears in higher violence rates in familiies and cultures with no fathers present  unsure why there is a correlation -the culture -aggression is readily passed to the new generation in communities where “machco” images are admired -Bandura concluded that aggressive acts are motivated by various averse experience such as frustration, pain,insults -aggressio
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