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Psychology 3720F/G Chapter Notes -Longitudinal Study, Relational Aggression, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

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Stelian Medianu

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Psych 3720F – Final Exam
Lesson 9
Development of Aggression & Individual Differences
Aggression is common in childhood & adolescence, less so as development continues (transient).
Emergence & Manifestation
- 2nd half of the first year, expression of anger in response to frustration
oAlthough unable to predict consequences, so they can’t intentionally inflict harm
- Reports from 5-8 months old predict behaviour between 11-15 months
- 2nd and 3rd years of life have more aggression, temper tantrums, and intentional use of physical force
oOvert physical force declines after 30 months (2 ½ years)
oIndirect and relational aggression emerge
- Early school years, boys show physical aggression, girls show relational/indirect aggression
oDirect aggression related to externalizing problems (attention deficits & delinquency)
oIndirect aggression linked to internalizing problems (depression & anxiety)
- In adolescence, aggression is more organized (gangs – mutually reinforcing all members)
Stability & Patterns of Change
- Longitudinal studies show aggression is almost as stable as intelligence over time
- Broidy et al. (2003) childhood phys. aggress. predicted violent delinquency in adolescent boys
- Barket et al. (2007) found two stable development trajectories (12-24 yrs of age)
o87% of P’s showed low aggression at every measure over 12-year period
o13% showed high levels of aggression at every measure, peaking at 18yrs of age
- Huesmann et al. (2009) did 40-year longitudinal study with same results
- Cumulative continuity: aggression is maintained b/c its consequences accumulate over time
oHighly aggressive child fails school, which generates more anger and hostility
- Interactional continuity: aggression maintained through responses it elicits from others
oHigh aggressive kids rejected by non-aggressive kids, so they only associated w/ other aggress.
- Continuous decline in aggression as a function of age is the normative pattern
- Minor forms of aggression show the earliest onset, followed by physical fighting
oBy age 15, both onset curves were about equal
oLatest onset/slowest-rising was for violence, significant less than others at 16 years
- Life-course persistent antisocial behaviour: originates in early childhood
oNeurodevelopmental risk factors: cognitive deficits, difficult temperament, hyperactivity
oExacerbated by high-risk social environment
oAssociated w/ violent crimes in adulthood
- Adolescence-limited antisocial behaviour: emerges in puberty as a normative pattern of behaviour
oPsychological discomfort during “maturity gap”, desire for autonomy
oDesistance from antisocial behaviours when adopting adult roles
oAssociated w/ non-violent delinquent offences in adulthood
- Moffitt et al. (2002) Dunedin Study (New Zealand) – 1000 children studied beginning at age 3
oFollow-ups every 2-3 years, up until age 38
- Roisman et al. (2010) adolescent-limited differ significantly from continuously non-aggressive
oIn childhood risk factors: showing more difficult temperament, less maternal sensitivity
Emotional & Cognitive Processes
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- Children with deficits in affective regulation & impulse control more likely to be aggressive
- Individual differences in anger more closely related to reactive aggression than proactive/unprovoked
- Beliefs about legitimacy of aggression are related to individual’s aggressive scripts
oThose with more aggressive scripts perceived more hostile intent in others
oHostile attributional style – sees all potentially harmful behaviour as hostile expression
Children naturally learn that things can happen by accident (benign intent)
Those who do not learn this show deficits in the learning process
- Burks et al. (1999) hostile knowledge structures more likely to perceive things as hostile
oAlso rated as more aggressive by mom and teachers
oLink between kindergarten + grade 8 aggression mediated by hostile knowledge structures
- Halligan and Phillips (2010) peer groups tendency to attribute hostile intent
oStability of hostile attributions promoted by like-minded peers
Social Influences
- Harsh parental discipline linked with higher levels of subsequent aggression
- Witnessing violence promotes aggression
- Aggressive kids rejected by non-aggressive, so they must associated with aggressive kids
oSelf-reinforcing, and continued acceptance requires continued aggression
Trait Anger and Trait Hostility
- Trait anger is a significant predictor of aggressive behaviour following provocation
oHigher trait anger showed more anger episodes that lasted longer
- Habitual tendency to react impulsively, controversially, or rudely at slightest provocation
- More aggression, particularly if they’re frustrated
- Alcohol increases aggression in irritable males
Emotional Susceptibility
- Tendency to experience feelings of discomfort, helplessness, inadequacy, and vulnerability
- Indicates generally higher readiness for aggression
oParticularly following frustration
- More time after frustration, the more likely ruminators are to respond aggressively
oOnly if rumination is about anger
- Trait-rumination associated w/ aggression only in context of provocation (Bettencourt et al, 2006)
- Bushman et al. (2005) instructed to ruminate about provocation or be distracted from thinking about it
oRumination had much higher anger after 25 minutes
oExpressed more aggression to minor triggering event
Hostile Attributional Style & Perspective Taking
- Attributional style is cognitive disposition, does not depend on affective arousal
- Takarangi et al. (2008) showed distorted memory plays role in mutual reinforcement (aggress/attrib.)
oGave P’s word lists of violent and non-violent words, some presented earlier & some later
oAggressive P’s more likely to falsely remember violent words as being part of earlier list
oSame results when P’s primed with violent or neutral words
- Angry individuals prone to fast & automatic interpretations/processing
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