Aggression Notes

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Social Psychological Explanations:
Social Learning Theory (SLT);
Behaviours can be learnt in two ways:
o Directly through reinforcement (reward/punishment)
o Indirectly by seeing others being rewarded or punished (vicarious learning)
Bandura (1965) ­ Bobo doll experiment. Children (aged about 4) watched a video of an adult
behaving in a certain way towards a Bobo doll.
× Conditions were artificial and therefore lacked validity.
× Difficult to measure aggression as could be just seen as play-fighting. Bobo doll is designed
to be hit and bounce back.
× Previous behaviour of the children was not considered ­ individual differences.
Deindividuation Theory;
Suggests were disinhibited when were an anonymous part of a crowd.
People may feel less personal responsible and less fear of public disapproval when they're part of a
Real- world evidence for this effect:
o Mullen (1986) analysed newspaper reports of lynch mobs violence in the US. The more
people there were in the mob, the greater the level of violence.
o Mann (1981) analysed 21 reports of suicides and identified ten cases where a crowd had
bailed the person threatening suicide (e.g. shouting 'jump'). Baiting was more likely to
happen at night when the crowd was at a distance and when the crowd was large (more
than 300 people).
Research evidence:
o Zimbardo (1969) showed that anonymity affects behaviour. Participants in this study
believed they were administering shocks to another participant in a learning experiment.
Individuated participants wore normal clothes, large names badges and were introduced to
each other. Deindividuated participants wore coats with hoods, were instructed in groups
and weren't referred to by name. The more anonymous participants administered ore and
longer shocks.

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Institutional Aggression;
Aggression in educational settings:
o Aggression in schools and colleges is becoming more common (1980s)
o Students and teachers at all academic levels are victims of physical assault, verbal threat
o Hazing in colleges (US) has contributed to over 50 deaths! (Nuwer,1990)
Aggression in the police and prisons:
o Anderson and Bauer (1987) suggests that aggression is experienced by police in 3 ways:
1. Witnessing violence in others - 2 in 10 inmates have been sexually assaulted
2.…read more

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Brunner et al (1993) ­ Dutch family showed history of violent behaviour in male members
and it was found that the defective MAOA gene was passed onto problem men from the X
chromosome of their mothers.
Neural Mechanisms;
There are two main neural mechanisms that are suggested to control aggressive behaviour:
1. Role of Amygdala.…read more

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Evolutionary Explanations:
Explanations of Human aggression (Males);
Sexual jealously and paternity contributes to a males aggressive behaviour. Research has found
that 1/4 of murders were down to sexual jealously (Daly and Wilson,1985)
o Because this aggression is cross-cultural it suggests that it is an adaptive trait. This may be
because males can never be 100% sure of their paternity
Males are victims in adultery. Cross culturally sexual intercourse outside of marriage is an offence.…read more

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E.g. Yanomano are successful warriors that had more wives and children than those who
were less successful in battle.
Genetic traits of bravery and intelligence ­ males high in both qualities are most likely to go to war
and win thus passing on their warrior traits
Group size ­ greater chance of survival when acting as a group
o Therefore greater protection of themselves and their genes.
Explanations of Group Display in Humans (Sports Events);
Group Cohesion ­ different teams represent their `tribes'.…read more


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