Psychology - Comparing theories of aggression

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  • Comparing theories of aggression
    • Biological
      • Something that comes from within us
      • Emphasises amygdala damage or testosterone imbalance
      • Studies of the brain and hormones are difficult or unethical, and we have no direct evidence that testosterone or the amygdala cause aggression
    • Social learning theory
      • Aggression is copied from others external to ourselves
      • How we 'learn' aggression rather than whether we have the tendency to be aggressive because of the way our brain functions
      • Argues that we are likely to be motivated to copy aggression through vicarious reinforcement
      • Observational learning may not lead to modelling or it might be modelled at a later date, so we cannot be certain that the observed behaviour has been learnt.
    • A problem with both theories is that not all individuals with high levels of testosterone or who watch violent TV and video games are actually aggressive. Neither theory takes account of the differences between individuals.
    • Both have been criticised because the reverse of each theory may be true. Aggressive children might seek out aggressive media rather than the media affecting their behaviour. Similarly, aggression might cause high testosterone levels rather than testosterone causing aggression.


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