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Social Psychological Explanations for Aggressive Behaviour:
Social Learning Theory:
According to this theory, aggressive behaviour can be learned by observing and imitating the aggressive behaviour of
other people (who are the role models of the individual e.g. parents). This can happen through vicarious reinforcement
(learning by watching someone being rewarded for their aggressive behaviour) or direct experience (learning through
your own experience so if you display aggression and get rewarded for it, you are likely to become more aggressive).…read more

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Group 3: observed the model but there were no consequences for the aggressive behaviour the children were
somewhere in between the two levels of aggression
This is an example of vicarious learning where children learn about the likely consequences of action and adjusting
their subsequent behaviour accordingly.
Bandura et al (1961): They looked at the effects of observing aggressive behaviour being rewarded or punished.…read more

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Prentice-Dunn and Rodgers (1982) modified Diener's theory and distinguishes between two types of self-awareness:
public and private. They suggest that only reductions in private self-awareness lead to genuine Deindividuation.
a) Public self-awareness: a concern over the impression of yourself that you are presenting to others. Believing you
cannot be identified and publicly held accountable for your actions can increase level of aggressive behaviour.…read more

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Institutional Aggression:
Institutional aggression is defined as aggressive behaviour that occurs within an institution (organisation or place of
confinement with its own social rules and where behaviour is formally restricted under control of staff) and is
motivated by social forces rather than anger or frustration.
Deprivation Model ­ Situational Factors:
Paterline and Peterson's (1999) deprivation model can be used to explain aggression within an institutional setting with
the belief that situational factors are the cause of aggressive behaviours.…read more

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­ some argue that the ethical costs of the
study are balanced with the benefits.
Research for Institutional Aggression:
1. Educational settings: fraternities and sororities established as support networks for undergraduate students have
been found to show similarities between prison institutes and educational ones. In order to become a part of a
fraternity or sorority, you have to go through an initiation and for some these can become quite aggressive such
as hazing (the ritualistic harassment or abuse of an individual or group).
a.…read more

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Biological Explanations for Aggression:
Neural and Hormonal Mechanisms:
Neural Mechanisms:
1. Amygdala: Papez (1937) suggested that emotional behaviours such as aggression was as a result of deep brain
structures, where they work together in complex systems in order to generate a behaviour. Balir and Charney
(2003) identified the amygdala, hypothalamus and periaqueductal grey (PAG) as the main structure where they
work in a hierarchy in order to produce responses which are then regulated by the prefrontal cortex to display
aggression.…read more

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Reductionist: it takes the complex issue of aggression and fails to include all factors to explain the behaviours
observed ­ it ignores the role of psychological and environmental factors such as cognition and situational factors
Low reliability (amygdala): there is some conflicting research which means that there is low reliability which means
we can question the role of neural mechanisms in explaining aggression.…read more

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However, injecting humans with testosterone would be unethical (due to
the health risks).
b. Dabbs et al (1995) found the violent criminals had higher levels of testosterone in their saliva than criminals
who committed a non-violent crime. These higher levels of testosterone made the individuals more likely
to get into trouble with the prison as a result of aggression.
c. Lindman et al (1987) found that young males who behaved aggressively when drunk had higher levels of
testosterone than those who didn't act aggressively
2.…read more

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DZ twins it was 0.14). However, it is important to note that it
also means that 50% is due to environmental factors.
b. Canter (1973) found a correlation of 0.14 for MZ twins reared together and for the same population
O'Connor (1980) found that there was a correlation of 0.72.…read more


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