Chapter 11: Aggression
What is aggression?
It is the intentional behavior aimed at causing either or physical or psychological
The intention to hurt is what defines aggression, rather than the act itself.
Hostile aggression: an act of aggression stemming from feelings of anger and
aimed at inflicting pain
Instrumental aggression: aggression as a means to some goal other than caus-
ing pain. E.g. a football player is being instrumentally aggressive to win the game
not to cause pain.
Is aggression inborn or learned?
Some people say we are naturally brute and that our laws and order we learn to
curb our aggressive nature
Some people say that we are naturally gentle and the restrictive society brings
out the hostility and aggressiveness out of us.
Eros: instinct towards life and Thanatos: instinct towards death leading to ag-
gressive actions. He talks about how we all have to left off some of our aggression
or else it will build up and we will explode.
Is aggression instinctual? Situational? Optional?
Evolutionary argument: Aggression is genetically programmed in men because it
allows them to perpetuate their genes.
To assert their dominance over other men for one, women like it??
And to protect what is theirs for the second reason. They do it because
they are jealous
Males are most aggressive at their peak reproductive years teens and 20’s
about issues of respect
back in the day that’s how women chose their men, the most aggressive
but nowadays women are attracted to power, wealth and celebrity rather
than brute force.
Aggression among the lower animals:
People believe that cats hate rats and want to eat them, but this guy raised a cat
and rat together and they became friends and the cat didn’t eat him or any other
rat for that matter.
This shows that training helped what if the rats were grown in isolation? The re-
search showed that they were aggressive to other rats because of their instincts aka
aggressive behavior can be modifies by experience but aggression does not need to
comparing chimps and bonobos, the chimps are more aggressive and willing to
fight and kill other chimps for food and water because its good for survival but the
bonobos are not like that they make love when they first interact at the feeding
ground then they eat. All species have aggressive tendencies but they also have strong inhibitory mech-
anisms that enable them suppress aggression.
Aggression is an optional strategy its only expressed in certain situations depend-
ing on previous social experience and the social context it find itself in.
Aggression and Culture
Depending on culture the levels of aggression vary. European history is full of wars
while some places that are portrayed as having primitive people have complete
peace like the Lepcha of Sikkim and the baka of central Africa.
Changes of aggression over time
Changing social conditions frequently lead to striking changes. The Iroquois of
Northamerica were peaceful till the British came then they turned into ferocious
warriors attacking the neighboring villages in order to trade.
Aggressiveness almost certainly came about because a social change produced
increases in competition.
Aggression and Culture of Honor:
aggression values in honor societies were the men are defined by power, tough-
ness and ability to protect property
honor societies think it’s ok for men to be violent against their wife if she cheated
and she can’t say about the violence plus she has to be loyal.
Southern Americans are more aggressive than Northern ones even in baseball
game they tend to show more aggressive almost 40% more to assert their manhood
or get players back.
Canadian bouncers are especially aggressive especially when they think their au-
thority or masculinity is being threatened. There is also a macho subculture where
by males bullied one and another without provocation
Neural and Chemical Influences on Aggression
The Amygdala is the core of the brain that is associated with aggressive behav-
ior, when it is stimulate, docile organisms become violent in contrast when the neu-
ral activity is blocked violent organisms become docile.
The impact of neural mechanisms can be modifies by social factors
Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that may inhibit aggressive impulse, too lit-
tle causes people to be aggressive. Criminal have less than the average person
Testosterone is a male sex hormone associated with aggression. Too much of it
causes aggressive behavior; men incarcerated have more testosterone than regular
guys especially if convicted of violent crimes.
Gender and aggression
men are more aggressive than women because they have more testosterone than
woman boys are more overtly aggressive while girls are more covertly aggressive with
backstabbing and gossiping
We can better understand when both males and females are provoked, when both
are they both act aggressively. However in everyday situations men are more ag-
gressive because they are more likely to view ambiguous situations as being
provocative and therefore act aggressively.
Men are incarcerated for violent crimes than women almost a 5:1 ratio.
Does the target make a difference?
Men’s aggression is generally directed at other men either friends or strangers
and its usually at bars or public places, they are also usually involves drinking.
Women’s aggression is more likely to be directed at a romantic partner a