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Chapter 9

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Dax Urbszat

PSY220 Ch. 9 Chapter 9: Aggression: Hurting Others WHAT IS AGGRESSION? Should all harm be aggression? Are there different kinds of aggression that serve different goals? Aggression: physical or verbal behavior intended to hurt someone Hostile aggression: aggression driven by anger and performed as an end in itself (springs from anger and goal is to injure) Instrumental aggression: aggression that is a means to some other end (to injure but also kill) - Animals exhibit social aggression, characterized by displays of rage, and silent aggression, as when a predictor stalks its prey - In humans it is labeled as hostile and instrumental - Most terrorism, wars are instrumental terrorism - Hostile aggression is “hot” instrumental aggression is “cool” - Most murders are hostile aggression WHAT ARE SOME THEORIES OF AGGRESSION? In analyzing causes of hostile and instrumental aggression, social psychologists have focused on three big ideas: (1) There is a biologically rooted aggressive drive (2) Aggression is a natural response to frustration (3) Aggressive behavior is learned AGGRESSION AS A BIOLOGICAL PHENOMENON  Jean Jacque Rousseau blames society not human nature for social evils  Thomas Hobbs sees society’s logs as necessary to restrain and control the human brute (instinctual bully)  Sigmund Freud “brutish” view, aggressive drive is in born and thus inevitable Instinct theory and evolutionary psychology: Instinctive behavior: an innate, unlearned behavior pattern exhibited by all members of a species PSY220 Ch. 9  Sigmund Freud speculated that human aggression springs from a self destructive impulse It redirects toward others the energy of a primitive death urge “the death instinct”  Konrad Lorenz, saw aggression as adaptive rather then destructive. Both agreed that aggressive energy is instinctive (unlearned and universal)  If not discharged it supposedly builds up then explodes  Evolutionarily, aggressive behavior was a strategy for gaining resources, defending against attack, intimidating or eliminating male rivals for females and deterring mates from sexual infidelity NEURAL IMPULSES  Stimulation to amygdala increases aggression  The prefrontal cortex (acts as emergency brake on deeper brain areas involved in aggression) is less active than normal in murderers  Abnormal brains can contribute to abnormally aggressive behavior GENETIC INFLUENCES  Aggressiveness similarly varies among primates and humans  Our temperaments are influenced by our sympathetic nervous system  Neither “bad” genes nor a “bad” environment alone predispose later aggressiveness and antisocial behavior ,rather, genes predispose some children to be more sensitive and responsive to maltreatment (increased aggression)  Nature and nurture interact  Blood chemistry also influences neural sensitivity to aggressive stimulation ALCOHOL  Alcohol unleashes aggression when people are provoked  Reduces people’s self awareness  Alcohol deindividuates and disinhibits TESTOSTERONE  Men low in testosterone, are somewhat less likely to react aggressively when provoked SEROTONIN  Culprits found at the scene of violence normally show low levels of serotonin PSY220 Ch. 9 INTERACTION BETWEEN BIOLOGY AND BEHAVIOR  Testosterone may facilitate dominance and aggressiveness BUT dominance or defeating behavior also boost testosterone levels  After winning a world cup soccer match, testosterone levels rise in the winning fans and fall in the losing fans  Neural, genetic, and biochemical influences predispose some ppl to react aggressively to conflict and provocation AGGRESSION IS A RESPONSE TO FRUSTRATION Frustration aggression theory: frustration triggers a readiness to aggress Frustration: the blocking of goal directed behavior (blocking the attainment of a goal) - Yes, frustration always leads to some form of aggression Displacement: the redirection of aggression to a target other then the source of the frustration. Generally, the new target is a safer or more socially acceptable target.  Displaced aggression is most likely when the target shares some similarity to the instigator and does some minor irritating act that unleashes the displaced aggression. FRUSTRATION AGGRESSION THEORY REVISED  Frustration may be unrelated to deprivation. The most sexually frustrated people are probably not celibate  Objective reality may have little to do with people’s experience of frustration  Frustration arises from the gap between expectations and attainments RELATIVE DEPRIVATION Relative deprivation: the perception that one is less well off than others to whom one compares oneself. AGGRESSION AS LEARNED SOCIAL BEHAVIOR THE REWARDS OF AGGRESSION  Aggression can be instrumental in receiving certain rewards ex. Toughest hockey player score the most goals Social learning theory: the theory that we learn social behavior by observing and imitating and by being rewarded and punished (Albert Bandura) PSY220 Ch. 9 - We learn aggression not only by experience by also by observing and noting the consequences - Child observes adult beat up Bobo doll for 10minutes - Those who observed the adult when placed in another room with similar toys reenacted the same behavior if not worse. (same effect when viewed on TV rather then live) - Bandura believed that everyday life exposes us to aggressive models in the family THE FAMILY  (Physically aggressive children) these parents often had parents who were themselves physically punitive  30% do later abuse their own children four times the general population rate  Violence begets violence  Family influence also appears in higher violence rates in cultures and in families with absentee fathers  Children reared without fathers are 7x more likely to be abused, to drop out of school, to become runaways, to become unmarried teenage parents and to commit violent crimes  Where and when fathers are absent, the violence risk increases THE CULTURE  Those who have observed gun violence are at double risk for violent behavior  Culture can shape aggressive reactions SUMMING UP: WHAT ARE SOME THEORIES OF AGGRESSION? There are three broad theories of aggression  The instinct view, most commonly associated with Sigmund Freud and Konrad Lorenz, contended that aggressive energy will accumulate from within, like water accumulating behind a dam. Although the available evidence offers little support for this view, aggression is biologically influenced by heredity, blood chemistry and the brain  According to the second view, frustration causes anger and hostility. Given aggression cues, this anger may provoke aggression. Fru
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