Psychology Aggression revision

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  • Aggression
    • Biological model
      • Aggression is behaviour aimed at harming others.
      • Males are more aggressive than females
        • Males have more testosterone than women.
          • Violent criminals have higher levels of testosterone than non-violent criminals.
          • When the Y chromosomes in males fails to split and so they end up with XYY arrangement.
            • This is evident in violent criminals as it makes men more aggressive than normal.
        • Hormones may affect aggression.
      • The brain.
        • The limbic system influences things like eating, sexual behaviour and aggression.
          • The prefrontal cortex controls these and and prevents us from being aggressive.
        • Brain disease affecting the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex could lead us to high levels of aggression
        • Charles Whitman
          • In 1966, he climbed to the top of a clock tower in the univeristy of Texas and shot 12 people
          • He had previously commited several violent acts towards others
          • In the post mortem, it revealed that he had a large tumor pressing on the limbic system
    • Psychodynamic Explanation
      • Freud suggested that we have an unconscious drive that causes aggression
        • It's caused by an internal force called Thanatos.
        • It drives us to self-destruction.
          • It's building up inside us all the time and creates pressure until we cannot handle it.
        • Ego-defence mechanisms.
          • Protects us from self destruction from the build up of this instinct.
          • These redirect our energy outwardly onto others or something safe, rather than harming ourselves.
          • Displacement: being aggresive towards others.
          • Sublimation: channelling our aggression into other acceptable activities.
      • Frustration-aggression explanation.
        • Dollard (1939) agreed that we might have aggressive instinct building up inside us
          • BUT said that Freud was wrong to suggest that it would spill over to aggressive behaviour for no reason
          • We need something to trigger it off.
        • We have an aggressive instinct but we also need something to frustrate us in order to release our aggressive behaviour.
          • This frustration can be be caused by everyday things such as arguments, forgetting homework and so on.
          • To let us off steam with aggresive behaviour
      • Key terms
        • Thanatos- the part of our unconsious that causes our aggressive drive
        • Ego defence mechanism- behaviour stragies used by the individual to protect itself
    • SLT explanation
      • Suggests that aggression behaviour is caused by people observing others and copying it
        • Children experience new situations and so copy what they see for guidance
          • More likely to copy someone who is similar to them
          • It is important if a child sees the model being reinforced by doing something
            • Motivates their behaviour
              • e.g. a child watching a film where the hero defeats the villain by hittin them
          • One implication of children copying what they see is that punishment can have the opposite of effect of what is intended.
            • Parents are role models and children are more likely to copy them
              • Therefore, if a child is hit by their parent, they will learn to hit others because of this experience.
                • So the parent is (unintentionally) teaching the child aggressive behaviour
        • Stresses the importance of Vicarious Learning (learning by observing others).
      • Bandura realises that reinforcement can be external (by observing others) or internal (from pride or self satisfaction).
        • We judge our own behaviour and if we feel good about what we have done this will strengthen a particular behaviour
          • If we feel good about being aggressive, we will do it again.
      • Keywords
        • Vicarious learning= learning by observation
        • Monitoring=judging wherever our behaviour is appropriate or not.
        • Punishment= a stimulus that weakens behaviour because it is unpleasant and we try to avoid it .
    • How does aggression develop?
      • Biological investigations
        • 50 years ago, it was impossible to mantipulate hormones and explore the human brain
          • Therefore research was conducted on animals and conclusions were applied to humans.
            • As science progressed, psychologists were able to study the human brain.
        • Raine (1997)
          • Aim: to investigate the brain of murderers.
            • Method: Researchers gave 41 murderers in California a PET scan and compared them with a similar group of non-murderers.
              • Result: There were some differences, for example activity in the prefrontal cortex of the murderers was lower than in non-murderers.
                • When the pre frontal cortex (and other parts of the brain) is not working normally, it can lead to people committing horrible crimes
        • Young et al. (1959)
          • Aim: to see what effect hormones have on aggressive behaviour
            • Method: Young injected pregnant rhesus monkeys with testorsterone and observed the levels of aggression in their offspring as they matured.
              • Results: the high levels of testosterone during the 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.
        • Keywords
          • PET scan- a technique to show how the brain is working by imaging it while the patient is carrying out a mental task.
      • Frustration and personality type
        • Frustration- Barker (1941)
          • Aim: to see the effect of frustration on aggressive behaviour
            • Method: children were kept waiting a long time before being allowed to play in a room full of attractive toys. Their behaviour was then 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.
                  • Evaluation: Violent ppts of Raine study can't be generalised to the rest of society.
                    • Frustration as a term is difficult to test, what might be frustrating to one person may not be to another.
        • Personality: Megargee and Mendelsohn (1962)
          • Aim: To see if there is a link between aggression and personality type
            • Method: People who had committed brutally aggressive crimes were interviewed and 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 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 will not be able to control it.
                  • People can lie in interviews and personality tests sometimes to make themselves look good-social desirability
                    • Frustration as a term is difficult to test, what might be frustrating to one person may not be to another.
      • SLT investigations
        • Bandura el al (1963)
          • Aim: to find out if 3-6 year old children would imitate the aggressive behaviour they see role models performing towards an inflatable 'bobo' doll
            • Method: Researchers divided 96 children into 4 groups, 3 of which were shown throwing, kicking and punching the 'bobo' doll. Their behaviour was observed.
              • Results: The children who had witnessed the aggressive behaviour showed more aggressive behaviour than the children had see none.
                • Conclusion: Children will copy how they see others behave.
                  • Evaluation
                    • shows that children's behaviour is affected by what they see
                    • was completed in a laboratory so it may not reflect what happens in the real world.
                    • Witnessing aggression may not have an effect if the child's parents are present to explain why the behaviour is wrong (as parents are influential role models).
    • Reducing aggression
      • Biological
        • Feel like if there is a drug to control ADHD then it should be possible to stop aggressive behaviour
          • Ritalin is the drug which simulates brain activity and reduces behaviour caused by ADHD
            • Due to the prefrontal cortex being simulated and so it is able to control aggressive instincts caused by the limbic system.
              • Evaluation
                • Easy to take
                • Successful
                • All drugs have side effects
                • It is difficult to make drug for a specific problem.
                • Could cause damage to the brain/body
          • ADHD  is a disorder characterised by short attention span, poor connection and uncontrollable aggressive outbrusts.
        • Psychosurgery
          • This is where the part of the brain that isn't functioning properly is removed and destroyed.
            • This can be done by inserting a probe to a very precise location and heating up the end to kill the nerves
              • Usually the limbic system
                • Destroying parts of the limbic system is used as a last resort as damage to brain tissue is permanent.
                  • Evaluation
                    • Successful
                    • Quick
                    • Serious risk of death
                    • Any change in the brain activity is permanent
      • Psychodynamic
        • Freud suggest two ways in dealing with our aggression
          • redirect them into safer activities using ego defence mechanisms like sublimation and displacement.
            • Sublimation: where people find safe activites to do that require a certain amount of energy that could release aggressive instincts.
              • Less likely that a sudden aggressive outburst for no apparent reason will occur.
          • Release through catharsis
            • Catharsis
              • The process of getting rid of your emotions by watching other people experiencing emotions.

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