Aggression 

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  • Created by: ell.hm
  • Created on: 01-04-16 13:07
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  • Aggression
    • Biological Explanation
      • Aggression is caused by hormones
        • Men are more aggressive than females as men have a higher amount of testosterone
          • Testosterone is thought to be the cause of aggression in males
            • This idea is supported by  finding that violent criminals have higher levels of testosterone than non violent criminals
      • Aggression is caused by chromosome abnormalities
        • If you have an extra Y chromosome you are more likely to be aggressive
          • When the 23rd chromosome (sex chromosome)fails to divide some men end up with an XYY arrangement.
            • This idea is supported by finding that there is a higher than normal proportion of men with an extra Y chromosome amongst violent offenders
      • Aggression is caused by interaction of different parts of the brain
        • Aggression is associated with the limbic system
          • The limbic system influences things such as eating, sexual behaviour and aggression
            • The part of the brain that controls these behaviours is called the prefrontal cortex which is highly involved with learning
              • The prefrontal cortex knows when instinctive behaviour is appropriate or not
                • Brain disease affects either the limbic system or the prefrontal cortex may lead to abnormally high levels of aggression
    • Psychodynamic explanation
      • This was proposed by Freud
        • He suggested that we have an unconscious drive that causes aggressive behaviour like the unconscious drive that leads to sexual behaviour
          • Our aggressive behaviour is caused by an initial force or instinct that he named Thanatos.
            • Thanatos drives us towards self destruction. All the time this instinct is building up inside us creating pressure until sooner or later we cannot control it and it makes us do something aggressive
              • Everyone has  this instinct towards self destruction and we protect ourselves by using ego defence mechanisms. These redirect our aggression outwardly
                • Rather than harming ourselves we will either harm others or redirect our energy into something safe.
                  • Freud identified two defence mechanisms
                    • Displacement is being aggressive towards other people
                    • Sublimation is channeling our aggression into other acceptable activities
              • Like a boiling pan of water which eventually spills over
      • This was proposed by Dollard et al
        • He believed Freud was wrong as he thought that something must trigger aggressive behaviour rather than it suddenly spilling over into aggressive behaviour
          • Like a loaded gun, it won't fire unless someone pulls the trigger
          • Dollard et al proposed the frustration aggression theory
            • This stated that as well as having an aggressive instinct, we also need something to frustrate us in order to release our aggressive behaviour.
              • Frustration can be caused by ordinary everyday things such as being late, losing things or arguments
                • These things will cause us to release our  aggressive instincts and let off steam with aggressive behaviour
    • Social learning theory
      • This suggests that all aggressive behaviour must be caused by people seeing people being aggressive then copying the behaviour
        • As people encounter new situations they look for guidance on how to behave
          • This occurs more in children as they experience new situations more often so they are more likely to copy other peoples behaviour.
            • This is called imitation
      • This stresses the importance of vicarious learning.
        • Vicarious learning is learning by observation
        • We learn new ways of doing things by watching other people doing these things
          • This is like young children leaning to swear they only do it as they've heard other people swearing
      • It has been  found that children are likely to imitate role models if they are similar age or sex or see them to be attractive, powerful or caring
        • The most important element is that if they see the role model being reinforced for being aggressive as this will create the impression that they will also be reinforced for aggressive behaviour
      • Bandura et al discovered that people monitor their behaviour all the time
        • He also realised that not only is reinforcement external but it can come from the inside in the form of self pride or satisfaction
          • We judge our own behaviour. If we feel good about what we have done this too will strengthen it.
            • In this way, we monitor ourselves, if we feel good about being aggressive, we will do it again
      • One implication of children copying what they see is that punishment can have the opposite effect to what was intended
        • Parents are role models to  children so if a child is hit by a parent the child will learn to hit others just through experiencing this.
          • This means that the parent has unintentionally taught the child aggressive behaviour. Having seen it performed by a role model the child will copy it
    • Biological investigations
      • Young et al (1959)
        • Aim-To see what effect hormones have on aggressive behaviour.
          • Method-Young injected pregnant rhesus monkeys with testosterone and observed the levels of aggression in their offspring as they matured
            • Results-The high levels of testosterone during pregnancy made the females grow up to behave like male monkeys, they engaged in rough and tumble play and challenged the males for dominance in their troop
              • Conclusion-Testosterone does seem to play a vital part in aggressive behaviour
      • Raine (1997)
        • Aim-To investigate the brains of murderers
          • Method-Researchers gave 41 murderers in California a PET scan and compared them with a similar group of non-murderers
            • Results-There was some differences, for example activity in the prefrontal cortex of the murderers was lower than in the non-murderers
              • Conclusion-When the prefrontal cortex (and other parts of the brain) is not working normally, it can lead to committing violent crimes
    • Other investigations
      • Barker Frustration Aggression theory (1941)
        • Aim-To see the effect of frustration on aggressive behaviour
          • Method-Children were kept waiting for a long time before being allowed to play in a room with attractive toys. Their behaviour was observed.
            • Results-The children were more aggressive and destructive than other children who had not been frustrated by being kept waiting.
              • Conclusion-Being frustrated does lead to an increase in aggression
      • Megargee and Mendelsohn (1962)
        • Aim-To see if theres a link between aggression and personality type
          • Method-People who had committed brutally aggressive crimes were interviewed and were given personality types
            • Results-These criminals seemed to have been over controlled and repressed their anger until it built up to such an extent that it just exploded following something really trivial
              • Conclusion-If people do not let their aggressive instinct out in small amounts from time to time, the build up will be so great that they won't be able to control it
    • Social learning theory investigations
      • Bandura et al (1963)
        • Aim-To find out if three to six year old children would imitate the aggressive behaviour they see role models performing towards an inflatable 'bobo doll'
          • Method-Researchers divided 96 children into four groups, three of which were shown someone throwing, kicking and punching the 'bobo doll'. Their own behaviour was observed
            • Results-The children who had witnessed the aggressive behaviour showed more aggressive behaviour than the children who had seen none.
              • Conclusion-Children will copy how they see others behave
      • Liebert and Baron (1972)
        • Aim-To see if watching violent television programs had any effect on aggressive behaviour in children
          • Method-One group of children was shown a quite violent television programme, while another was shown an equally exciting sporting event. The two groups were then observed at play.
            • Results-The group who had watched the violent programme were more aggressive than the group who had watched the sporting programme
              • Conclusion-Watching violence on the television increases the level of aggression in children behaviour.

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