Aggression Unit 3 Notes

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Introduction & Social Explanations of Aggression
It is defined as a hostile or destructive tendency or behaviour.
There are several possible reasons:
1. Legacy of an evolutionary past
2. Biochemical/ neural causes
3. Learnt behaviour
4. Lack of cognitive
SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY
This was proposed by Bandura and Walters (1963)
According to Bandura, children learn their aggressive behaviour through observation, vicarious
reinforcement and mental representation . Which is then imitated and then maintained or ceased
based on their personal reinforcement.
Children watch or observe a behaviour and they may imitate it if they see the person being
reinforced or punished. This is vicarious reinforcement. If when they imitate the behaviour and
they are rewarded they are likely to maintain the behaviour. This is maintenance through direct
experience.
Research support for SLT comes from Bandura et al (1961) and the Bobo Doll Studies.
The study involved male and female children between 3 and 5 watch the modelled behaviour of
adults.
Half were exposed to an adult aggressively interactive with a Bobo Doll in a room, involving
physical and verbal aggression. The other half were nonaggressive.
Following the exposure, the children were put in a room with attractive toys that they were not
allowed to play with. This induced frustration in the children. They were then led to a room with
other toys and the Bobo Doll.
Findings:
The aggressive modelled group showed aggressive behaviour with 1/3 imitating the verbal
noises made by the adults.
Children of the other group showed virtually no aggression towards the doll.
Boys reproduced more physical aggression but there were no differences found in verbal
imitation between genders.
Conclusion:
Although the study tells us that children do learn aggressive behaviour/ responses as a result of
observation, it doesn't explain why they'd imitate the behaviour without the presence of the doll.
In a later study, Bandura & Walters (1963) found that the children who saw rewards for aggressive
behaviour showed high levels of aggression in their own play.
Those who saw the model punished showed low levels and those who saw neither a reward or
sanction were somewhere in between.
Evaluation:
It's possible that the studies findings (Bandura) may be due to demand characteristics. The
children may have known what was expected of them meaning that they were therefore just

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Noble (1975) reported that one child
said "Look Mummy, there's that doll we have to hit" on arrival. The studies also use a doll rather
than a real person, lacking mundane realism. In response to these criticisms, Bandura released a
video using a live clown, which produced similar results.
Ethical issues make testing SLT experimentally hard. Exposing children to aggressive behaviour and
then having them possibly replicate the behaviour raises ethical issues, such as protecting them
from physical and psychological harm.…read more

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The events happening at night
added to the anonymity. Collectively, these features were likely to produce a state of
Deindividuation in members of the crowd, which made them behave in a way that they ordinarily
may not.
There is a gender bias in the theory of Deindividuation. Cannavale (1970) found that male and
female groups responded differently under Deindividuation conditions displaying a gender bias.
Diener et al (1973) found greater disinhibition of aggression in males, which agrees with
Cannavale et al's findings.…read more

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Suggest males maybe more prone to disinhibition than females
P: Doesn't always lead to antisocial behaviour, can increase prosocial behaviour
E: Prentice Dunn (1990): dependent on situational factors
E: Cues influence behaviour
E: Therefore, it cannot be certain that deindividuation will lead to antisocial behaviour.
PRISONS
THE IMPORTATION MODEL Interpersonal Factors and Gang Membership
Irwin and Cressey (1962) claim that prisoners are not blank slates when they enter prison, they
bring in their social histories and personal traits.…read more

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Importation model: Interpersonal factors. IRWIN & CRESSEY (1962) claim prisoners aren't
`blank slates'. Bring social histories and traits. Influences actions in prison.
Gang membership factors: ALLENDER AND MARCELL (2003) gang members account for
large number of the crimes. Huff (1998): members 10x more likely to commit a murder, 3x
more likely to assault someone.
Deprivation model: Prisoner aggression is due to the conditions. Crowding, lack of space
and staff experience.
AO2
P: Research support for the importation model.…read more

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Research suggests that
personality may play an important role, specifically social dominance orientation (SDO) which is a
personality variable which predicts social and political attitudes. People who are high in SDO
endorse social hierarchies. Esses et al (2008) has demonstrated that individuals high in SDO have a
tendency to dehumanise outgroup members, therefore the poor media portrayal of refugees may
cause greater contempt in higher SDO individuals and result in poor treatment of them.…read more

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PAG but
PAG is not dependent on the others.
The amygdala has long been associated with aggressive behaviour in both animals and humans. A
link was establish by Kluver & Bucy (1930s). They removed part of the temporal lobes of Rhesus
monkeys, destroying the amygdala. This resulted in a loss of fear and a taming effect.
It is the role of the prefrontal cortex to control the outward expression of aggression.…read more

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They also injected mice with testosterone and observed increased levels of
aggression.
Vom Saal (1983) showed the influences of testosterone in aggression by looking at the
development of rats in the womb. It was found that those female rats that lay closer to male rats
in the womb were the most aggressive female rats in the litter. This was because they were
exposed t more testosterone from their brothers.…read more

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GENETIC FACTORS
The Role of MAOA
A gene responsible for producing a protein called monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) has been
associated with aggressive behaviour. MAOA regulates the metabolism of serotonin in the brain
and low levels are associated with impulsivity and aggression.
In the 1980s, a study of a Dutch family found that a large number of its male members were
violent and aggressive and a large number have been involved in a serious crime (e.g. rape or
arson).…read more

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Biological Explanations of Aggression Genetic Factors
Essay Plan (8 + 16)
AO1
Gene MAOA has been associated with aggressive behaviour
It regulates the metabolism of serotonin in the brain, low levels associated with aggression
1980s study, BRUNNER ET AL (1993): Dutch family studied, males were aggressive, many
involved in a serious crime, found to have very low levels and a defect later identified.…read more

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