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Chapter 11

PSY220H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 11: Honor Killing, Aggression, On Aggression


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY220H1
Professor
Heather V.Fritzley
Chapter
11

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PSY220 - Chapter 11: Aggression (Lecture 10)
Aggression: behaviour intended to harm another living being, who is motivated to avoid such treatment.
Aggression can be both physical and social in nature.
THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES ON AGGRESSION: IN SEARCH OF THE ROOTS OF VIOLENCE
THE ROLE OF BIOLOGICAL FACTORS
Aggression is inherited and instinctual
Freud’s ‘death instinct’ (thanatos) possessed by all people this instinct is initially aimed at self-
destruction, but the desire to self-destruct is not acceptable thus we turn it outwards as
aggression
Lorenz aggression springs mainly from fighting instinct which assures that only the strongest
males will obtain mates/pass on their genes to the next generations
Social psychologists disagreed with the idea that aggression was completely biological/inherited
Human aggression takes many forms they lash out against others in multiple ways (ignoring to
violence)
The frequency of aggressive actions varies across human societies/cultures
Evolutionary Perspective genetic factors may play some role in human aggression
Males compete with other males for mates
One way of eliminating competition is through successful aggression drives rivals away
Males who were adept to this behaviour may have been more successful in securing mates and
transmitting genes to offspring
Males do not act aggressively to females because it may cause rejection but females may act
aggressively equally against males/females
Brendgen (2008) physical aggression: physical behaviour intended to harm another living being,
who is motivated to avoid such treatment, in children is determined by both genetic and environmental
factors (50% variance)
Most studies looking at childhood aggression focused only on physical aggression
Social aggression: social behaviour intended to harm another living behaviour through
reducing their self-esteem, their social status, or both
The relationship between genetic factors and social aggression is significantly weaker than
genetic factors and physical aggression.
DRIVE THEORIES: THE MOTIVE TO HARM OTHERS
Aggression stems mainly from an externally elicited drive to harm others
Drive theories (of aggression): propose that external conditions, esp. frustration, arouse a strong
motive to harm others, and the drive leads to overt acts of aggression
Frustration-aggression hypothesis: frustration leads to the arousal of a drive, the primary goal of
which is to harm some person or object perceived as the cause of the frustration
This is false though, and frustration is a very weak cause of aggression
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MODERN THEORIES OF AGGRESSION: SOCIAL LEARNING PERSPECTIVE
Social learning perspective: learn aggressive responses through direct experiences or by observing the
behaviour of others. Individuals learn
Various ways of seeking to harm others
Which individuals/groups are appropriate targets for aggression
What actions by others justify retaliation or vengeance
What situations/contexts are ones in which aggression is permitted or even approved
Bobo Doll Study (Bandura)people learn aggression through watching others
Children exposed to adults being violent to bobo dolls, also became violent to it themselves
They even made novel actions of aggression
Gee and Leith (2007)compared use of aggressive behaviour by North American-born hockey players
with European-born hockey players
Found that hockey players born in North America were significantly more aggressive than those
born in Europe, with no significant differences in performance
All players experience frustration during game why is there a difference? Most likely because
players learn to be aggressive through modelling and reinforcement
General Aggression Model: This is a modern theory of aggression suggesting that aggression is
triggered by a wide range of input variables that influence arousal, affective stages, and cognitions.
Chain of events that may lead to overt aggression can be initiated by two types of input variables.
Factors relating to the current situation (situational factors) frustration, insults, aggressive
models
Factors relating to the individuals involved (person factors) traits that predispose individuals
toward aggression, attitudes/beliefs about violence, and tendency to perceive hostile intentions
in others’ behaviour
CAUSE OF HUMAN AGGRESSION: SOCIAL, CULTURAL, PERSONAL, AND SITUATIONAL
SOCIAL CAUSES OF AGGRESSION
Frustration
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Does not always lead to some form of aggression but frustration can be one of the factors that
lead to aggression
Frustrated individuals can show sadness, despair and depression to direct attempts to overcome
the source of the frustration
Aggression does not always result from frustration
People aggress for other reasons
But it can elicit aggression when the cause of the frustration is viewed as
illegitimate/unjustified
Direct Provocation
Provocation: actions by others that tend to trigger aggression in the recipient, often because
these actions are perceived as stemming from malicious intent
Santor (2003) - provocation tends to lead to increases in impulsive aggression
When we are on the receiving end of aggression from others criticism we consider
unfair, sarcastic remarks, or physical assaults we tend to reciprocate impulsively to
return as much aggression or more
Condescension: expressions of arrogance or disdain on the part of others is powerful
Harsh and unjustified criticism, esp. attacking you instead of behaviour, or derogatory statement
about family
Heightened Arousal: Emotion, Cognition, Aggression
Arousal in one situation can increase aggression in response to provocation, frustration, etc. in
another unrelated situation
Excitation transfer theory: a theory suggesting that arousal produced in one situation can
persist and intensify emotional reactions occurring in later situations
Physiological arousal tends to dissipate slowly over time, a portion may persist as a
person changes situation and then a mild annoyance becomes enraging due to the
arousal intensifying the emotional reaction
These effects most likely to occur when the individuals involved are relatively unaware of
the presence of residual arousal
Or the individuals recognize their residual arousal but attribute it to events occurring in
the present situation
EXPOSURE TO MEDIA VIOLENCE: EFFECTW OF WITNESSING AGGRESSION
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