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Chapter 11

Chapter 11

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Western University
Psychology 2070A/B

Chapter 11: Aggression and Violence - Aggression: any form of behaviour that is intended to injure someone physically or psychologically - Violence: when aggression is intended to cause extreme injury - Hostile aggression: arises out of negative emotions such as anger and frustration - Instrumental aggression: motivated by goals other than harming the target- either teaching a lesson or to steal something of value. More often premeditated than impulsive o E.g. spanking your child, or knocking someone over to steal their bag - Aggressive behaviour can be caused by several actions simultaneously; e.g. the shooting at Columbine high school was carefully planned (instrumental) but the accused were also really angry and targeted the athletes of the school because they provoked them (hostile) Relational Aggression - Behaviour that is intended to damage another person’s peer relationships - Studies show that boys engage in more overly physical aggression vs. girls who engage in more relational behaviour studies done by preschool kids; shows how early behaviours are taught - Aggressive behaviour is also associated with popularity; seen as cool and leads to peer acceptance rather than rejection - Corporal punishment: inflicting pain without sustaining injury (spanking) o Only effective for short-term compliance o Correlates to greater aggression, lower mental health, and parental relationship in the future Theories of Aggression General Aggression Model (GAM) - Theory that conceptualizes aggression as the result of a chain of psychological processes; people respond to situational events differently depending on their individual differences, the aggressive thoughts and feelings increase the probability of an aggressive behaviour if the person interprets the situation using appraisal processes as being appropriate for aggressive behaviour Biological Influences on Aggression - E.g. anger is associated with physiological arousal- usually innate and spontaneous - Hormonal Activity and Aggression o Studies have shown that testosterone is associated with increased aggression  STUDY: prisoners convicted of violent crimes have higher levels of testosterone then prisoners convicted of nonviolent crimes o Partly explains the gender differences (men commit 70-90% of murders) and age differences (hormone levels peak in the mid-20s) in violent crime - Evolutionary Processes o Proposed that human tendency towards aggression is innate because it served as a means of survival in the past. The fight-or-flight response increased our ancestors’ chances of survival because they were always ready to engage in self-defence if need be o Male sexual jealousy was identified as a common precipitator of aggression because men have evolved to aggress against other men that threaten the paternity of offspring borne by their female Frustration and Aggression - Defined frustration as a feeling that occurs when an individual’s efforts to obtain a desired goal are interfered or blocked - Frustration-aggression hypothesis: twin propositions that frustration always leads to some form of aggression and that frustration is the only cause for aggression - STUDY: 2 people in a situation reminiscent to the Milgram learning study except the confederate was always the learner and the other person was not ordered to administer the shocks. 4 conditions; 1. Frustration was induced by working on an irresolvable puzzle. 2. Solvable but they were interrupted and didn’t finish. 3. Finished but their intelligence was insulted (induce anger) and 4. Let them finish alone. Results showed that people in the 2 frustration conditions delivered more shock and both had the same increased level of aggression. In the insult condition, they showed the highest levels of aggression - Showed that factors other then frustration (anger) can cause aggression revised hypothesis - Displaced Aggression o Harm directed at someone that was not the actual source of frustration either because it is dangerous or the person is not there anymore o Usually in response to a minor triggering frustration but the unfortunate target  “the straw that broke the camel’s back” - Catharsis o Idea that aggressive behaviour releases people’s pent-up frustration and reduces the likelihood of subsequent aggression o Does not really seem to occur actually the opposite does; when people are provided with an opportunity for aggression against a source of frustration, it usually serves to heighten, rather than lessen, subsequent aggression Excitation Transfer - Idea that aversive arousal causes or heightens aggression - Thus aggressive behaviour can be reduced by engaging in activities that reduce aversive arousal (calming music, distracting yourself) and by the passage of time - Other sources of physiological arousal like exercise, and sporting events and NOT just frustration and anger can increase aggressive behaviour - STUDY: participants were exposed initially to a procedure that either elicited anger or not, which was followed by either vigorous exercise or quiet motor activity. Results showed that of the 4 conditions ONLY the one when participants were both angered and spent time on the exercise bicycle resulted in more aggressive behaviour when the roles were switched and they could administer the shocks to the teacher - Excitation transfer: the idea that unrelated physiological arousal can be linked to anger- related thoughts that can ultamitely increase anger-related behaviour. In the condition where they were angered but then spent time quietly , the anger-induced arousal presumably dissipated over time - Excitation transfer can increase aggression even when people are no longer consciously aware of a state of arousal. An arousing event may cause people to respond to insults with greater intensity Social Learning Theory - Theory proposes that people learn many kinds of responses, including aggressive ones, through observation - People often learn aggressive behaviours by watching others being rewarded and imitating it - STUDY: using 3-5 year old children and bobo dolls. Kids divided into 3 groups: 1. An adult modelled aggressive behaviour far more then the child would spontaneously do on their own. 2. They watched it on a movie. 3. Watched a cartoon version of it. Then led to another room and showed really nice toys but denied of playing with them (induce frustration), then left in another room with less impressive toys for 20 minutes. Children in the control grouped engaged in very few of the modelled behaviours, but children in the experimental group were far more likely to exibit imitative behaviour; learned to act aggressively when frustrated - Limitation: focuses on how aggression is learned rather than when it will occur Cognitive Neoassociation Model - The idea that aggression results from a process of spreading activation (once a schema in memory becomes activated, it tends to bring to mind other schemas) - An unpleasant event arouses negative emotionsimultaneously activates fight (aggression) and flight (escape)further activate fear and anger through spreading activation o The one you act on depends on whether other cues activate schemas related to anger which will induce fight, or fear which will induce flight - STUDY: participants received either 1 or 7 shocks and had the opportunity to retaliate either with an empty table, or the presence of a gun. Results showed that they gave shocks of greater duration when they received 7 vs. 1 shock and when the guns were present Influences on Aggression - Individual differences o Narcissism  An excessive love for the self; tend to be defensive about criticism that threatens their ego  Often respond with hostility and aggression when criticized- threatned egotism o Trait Aggressiveness  A disposition measured by the Aggression Questionnaire (AQ) that measures how likely people are to respond to provocations with anger; hypothesized to be more aggressive  STUDY: people that scored higher on the AQ rated the aggressive-ambiguous
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