Aggression Revision Notes - A01, A02/3 and IDA

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GRENADE ­ Gender, Reductionism, Ethics, Nature/Nurture, Animal studies,
Determinism, Eurocentricism
Social Learning Theory ­
SLT is defined as learning behaviour controlled by environmental influences.
Aggression is primarily learned.
We learn through direct experience or vicarious reinforcement.
Behaviour that is reinforced will be repeated and learned.
If aggression is associated with a reward it is likely to be learned.
We need to learn by observing and imitating behaviour:
Attention ­ Observation occurs by attending to a model's behaviour.
Retention ­ Individuals must code and recall behaviour by placing it into long-term memory.
Production ­ Capable of reproducing the model's behaviour.
Motivation ­ Expect to receive positive reinforcements, which help to motivate their behaviour.
­ Link to `Mental representation' ­ likely to be aggressive if outcome is predicted.
Factors influencing imitative behaviour:
Results in rewards are valued.
Model is similar to the observer.
Model is charismatic.
Task cannot be too easy or too difficult.
The individual cannot have too low self-esteem ­ link to `production of behaviour' = low self
SLT has much research support; however observational learning explanations are often too
SLT can be argued to be more powerful than biology ­ non-aggressive Amish communities.
SLT does not account for the role of emotional factors in behaviour.
Explains individual differences and cultural differences.
Supports - Bandura reported that individuals who live in areas with high crime rates are more likely
to act violently. Imitated behaviour.
Temporal bias ­ out-dated understanding.
Extraneous variables ­ not just environment.
Methodological issues.
Supports - Williams ­ level of verbal and physical aggression in a remote Canadian community
increased after TV introduced. Media influences.
Long term effects? Reliable?
Experimenter bias.
Ethical issues.
Subjective measurement of aggression.
Cannot apply to social situations.
Supports - Cooper and McKay ­ children aged 9 and 10 who played aggressive video games,
aggression increased in girls, but not boys ­ affects gender differently.

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Can't generalise to adults.
Out- dated games ­ can't apply today.
Small sample size.
Lacks validity ­ incorrect way of measuring.
Alpha bias ­ sees no effect in boys.
Gender bias is evident ­ assumes that aggression doesn't affect everyone in the same way.
Reductionist ­ Over-simplifies theory and does not take biology into account.
Ethical concerns of studies, especially Bandura's classic Bobo doll study, as the children were
exposed to aggressive conditions ­ psychological harm.…read more

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Research fails to consider whether anonymity of the victim's aggression or of the aggressors
themselves leads to high levels of aggression.
Zimbardo criticised Le Bon's theory ­ there was more to deindividuation than just anonymity of a
Reduced responsibility, Increased arousal, Sensory overload, Altered consciousness
Zimbardo ­ female ps dressed in white lab coats and hoods. Control group with ordinary clothes ­
not anonymous. Anonymous ps gave more shocks to ps.…read more

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Irwin and Cressey ­ categories of prison sub-culture:
Criminal/thief subculture ­ norms and values inherent within the career criminal. A value such as
not betraying one another is adopted.
Convict subculture ­ seek positions of power influence and information within the prison
Conventional subculture ­ one ­ time offenders. Reject other subculture groups in prison,
identifying more with staff.
Importation model looks at subcultures within prisons ­ holistic view.…read more

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McCorkle ­ individual and collective acts of aggression in 371 US prisons ­ deprivation model was
not useful in prison violence. Prison aggression occurs as a result of poor management practices.
Haslam and Reicher ­ BBC prison study ­ behaviour understood through social identity theory.
Megargee ­ prisoners do not have enough space to live.
Prisoners are to blame in public knowledge ­ prison is not at fault.
Blomberg and Lucken ­ deprivation of liberty influences prison behaviour.…read more

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Biological ­
Neural and Hormonal ­
A01 ­
Chemicals that enable impulses within the brain to be transmitted from one are of the brain to the
Reduces the aggression by inhibiting responses to emotional stimuli that might otherwise lead
to an aggressive response.
Low levels are associated with aggression. Mann ­ gave 35 healthy ps a drug which is known to
deplete serotonin. Questionnaire ­ in males that drug was associated with hostility.…read more

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Animal studies ­ issues with generalisation to humans and ethical issues
Biologically determined ­ no free will
Gender bias ­ predominately males
Reductionism ­ doesn't take biology Into account
Hormonal mechanisms - Testosterone -
Dabbs ­ salivary testosterone in violent and non ­ violent criminals. High level = aggression.
Lindman ­ Males who behave aggressively when drunk had a higher testosterone levels that those
who did not act aggressively.…read more

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Animal studies ­ cannot be generalised to humans.
Determinist - biology determines behaviour ­ no free will.
Eurocentric ­ results cannot be generalised to other cultures ­ imposed etic.
Cortisol ­
A01 ­
Dabbs ­ mediating effect on other aggression related hormones, because it increases anxiety.
High levels of cortisol inhibit testosterone levels so inhibit aggression.
Low levels of cortisol increase the likelihood of aggression ­ schoolchildren ­ Tennes and Kreye.…read more

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If a positive correlation is found between aggression in adopted children and biological parents, then
it must be genetic.
Hutchings and Mednick ­ 14,000 adoptions in Denmark found adopted boys with criminal
convictions had biologically aggressive parents.
The role of MAOA:
XYY is associated with aggression.
MAOA regulates the metabolism of serotonin in the brain and low levels of serotonin are
associated with impulsive behaviour.
Brunner ­ Dutch family had low levels of MAOA, defect suggests this is why they are aggressive.…read more

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A01 ­
Aggression is important in the function in terms of individual survival and procreation. Animals must
compete in order to increase their own fitness.
Lorenz - programmed for violence by basic nature. Emanates from an inherited fighting instinct that
human beings share with other species. One way of eliminating the competition of males was
through aggression. It is an adaptive purpose and aids survival and adaptation to the environment.…read more


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