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Chapter 11

Chapter 11 Aggression.pdf

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Psychology 2070A/B

Chapter 11: Aggression April-11-14 6:56 PM What is Aggression? AGGRESSION: Intentional behavior aimed at causing either physical or psychological pain HOSTILE AGGRESSION: An act of aggression stemming from feelings of anger and aimed at inflicting pain or injury INSTRUMENTAL AGGRESSION: Aggression as a means to some goal other than causing pain Is Aggression Inborn or Learned? - Sigmund Freud theorized that human beings are born with Eros and Thanatos EROS: The instinct toward life, posited by Freud THANATOS: According to Freud, an instinctual drive toward death, leading to aggressive actions - Freud believed that aggressive energy must come out somehow, lest it continue to build up and produce illness - Society performs an essential function in regulating this instinct and in helping people to sublimate it — that is, to turn the destructive energy into acceptable or useful behavior Is Aggression Instinctual? Situational? Optional? The Evolutionary Argument - Males are theorized to aggress for two reasons: 1) Males behave aggressively to establish dominance over other males → The idea here is that the female will choose the male who is most likely to provide the best genes and the greatest protection and resources for offspring 2) Males aggress "jealously" to ensure that their mate(s) are not copulating with others → This ensures their paternity - Males are most likely to engage in violence during their peak reproductive years — their teens and twenties Aggression among Animals - Although aggressive behavior can be modified by experience — aggressions apparently does not need to be learned Aggression and Culture Changes in Aggression over Time - Within a given culture, changing social conditions frequently lead to striking changes in aggressive behavior Aggression and a Culture of Honor - Violence may be seen as more acceptable in honor cultures — that is, cultures that define male honor in terms of power, toughness, and the ability to protect one's property Neural and Chemical Influences on Aggression - Aggressive behavior in human beings is associated with the amygdala AMYGDALA: An area in the core of the brain that is associated with aggressive behavior - When the amygdala is stimulated, docile organisms become violent; similarly, when neural activity in that area is blocked, vi olent organisms become docile - Certain chemicals have been shown to influence aggression: ▪ SEROTONIN: A chemical in the brain that may inhibit aggressive impulses → When the natural production of serotonin is interrupted, aggressive behavior increases ▪ TESTOSTERONE: A male sex hormone associated with aggression → Naturally occurring testosterone levels are significantly higher among prisoners convicted of violent crimes than among those convicted of nonviolent crimes → Testosterone fluctuates depending on situational factors Gender and Aggression - Men are far more aggressive than women under ordinary circumstances, the gender differenced becomes much smaller when men and women are actually provoked - Men are more likely than women to interpret ambiguous situations as provocative and are therefore more likely to react aggres sively in what we would consider everyday situations - The rate of violent crime committed by men is still four times that of the female rate, which might suggest a biological diff erence Does the Target Make a Difference? - Men's aggression is generally directed at other men - Women's aggression is much more likely to be directed at a romantic partner - Women are more likely than men to be physically aggressive toward their partners - There are some important qualifiers: ▪ Men are much more likely to engage in more severe forms of violence than are women ▪ Women are much more likely to suffer serious physical injury at the hands of their male partner than the other way around ▪ There is evidence that male violence does more emotional and psychological damage than female violence Does Culture Make a Difference? - Teenagers in New Zealand reported the most violent responses to these stories; Koreans generated the least violence responses Alcohol and Aggression - The greater the reported consumption of alcohol, the greater the reported aggression - Heavier men are more likely to be aggressive when they have been drinking than are lighter men - More than half of individuals who have committed violent crimes were drinking heavily at the time of the crime - "Alcohol can play a causal role in exacerbating relationship conflict" Pain, Discomfort, and Aggression - Students who underwent the pain of having their hand immersed in very cold water showed a sharp increase in their likelihood to aggress against other students - People are more likely to have aggression on their minds when they are uncomfortably hot Situational Causes of Aggression Frustration as a Cause of Aggression Final Notes Page 1 Frustration as a Cause of Aggression FRUSTRATION-AGGRESSION THEORY: The theory that frustration — the perception that you are being prevented from obtaining a goal — will increase the probability of an aggressive response - The closer the goal, the greater the expectation of pleasure that is thwarted; and the greater the expectation, the more like ly the aggression - Frustration seems to produce anger or annoyance and a readiness to aggress if other things about the situation are conducive to aggressive behavior - The size and strength of the person responsible for your frustration — as
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