All 24 mark aggression questions AQA A

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Aggression Questions:
1. Describe and evaluate social theories of aggression
One social theory that explains aggressive behaviour is the Social Learning Theory. The social
learning theory suggests that behaviour is learnt through observation/imitation and vicarious
reinforcement. It assumes that a person will observe a model and create a mental representation of
the behaviour performed. They will also learn the behaviour via vicarious reinforcement, both
negative and positive. When a person observes a model being punished or praised this reinforces
the behaviour to be imitated.
Bandura's Bobo study was created to test this theory. He used two groups of children, one of which
observed a model hitting and kicking a plastic blow up doll. In the second group, the children
watched a model playing and being nice to the doll. When the children were let in to play with the
doll, the group who witnessed the model being aggressive to the doll imitated these behaviours and
also hit and kick the doll. On the other hand, the second group were calm and played with the doll.
This supports the assumption of the social learning theory of observation and imitation. This study
can be critiqued as the situation isn't realistic as the experiment is subject to demand characteristics,
thus the participants do the behaviours because that is what they are supposed to do. Following on
from this Bandura did a following study using two scenarios of children watching the Johnny and
Rocky TV show. In one scenario Rocky hit Johnny and takes Johnny's toys, in the second, Rocky tries to
reach the toys buy Johnny hits Rocky to stop him reaching the toys. The children who observed the
first scenario were most likely to imitate their behaviour due to positive vicarious reinforcement.
This supports the suggestion of vicarious reinforcement increases aggressive behaviour. Bandura
also found that if the model was of the same sex as the observer there is a higher chance of
imitation. During the first study one of the behavioural measures of aggression were `sit on the doll'.
If a child did this they may not have been doing it in an aggressive way thus this lowers the reliability
of the study.
The social learning theory supports the nurture side of the nature versus nurture debate whereas the
biological approach would support the nature side of the debate. The biological approach is a
counter explanation for aggressive behaviour suggesting that this behaviour is predisposed due to
genetics and that there is no free will against not being aggressive if you have certain genes. The
social learning theory also is determinist as it suggests we cannot control what we observe, and thus
believing behaviour will always be imitated.
The second social psychological theory that gives an explanation for aggressive behaviour is
deindividuation. Deindividuation explains the use of aggression by the lack of self-awareness and
self-assessment. Deindividuation occurs when a person is able to become anonymous, whether that
is as part of a crowd or by wearing a mask or costume. During these situations, the person or group
become a `collective mind', thus decreasing self-awareness and identity and increasing the risk of
aggressive behaviour. This theory is based on Le Bon's classic crowd theory.
Zimbardo studied deindividuation using two groups of female participants. The deindividuated
group wore lab coats with hoods, were given instructions as a group and not introduced to each
other giving the sense of a group. The individual group wore their own clothes, were given
instructions individually and were all introduced to each other showing a sense of individuality. They
were asked to perform an electric shock task, somewhat like Milgrams conformity study. He found
that those in the deindividuated condition shocked for two times as long as the individual group thus
supporting the theory of deindividuation as the deindividuated group lost their sense of identity by
wearing a uniform thus increasing their anonymity. Rhem further supports this theory using two

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German school children playing handball. One team were playing in their own clothes,
whilst the other group were playing in orange clothes. The uniformed group showed more
aggressive behaviour than the other group. This study can be critiqued as it may have been
subjective at to what `aggressive behaviour' is defined as. The results of this study cannot be
generalised as the sample is not representative of the whole population as only children were used.…read more

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The model believes that the
prisoners are not `black slates' and that this is why aggressive behaviour is shown. Normative states
from the real world are bought in from the prisoners and are continued in prison. This is supported
by Heffer who found that life in prisons is somewhat parallel to real life. White inmates were more
involved with drugs and alcohol, whereas black inmates were more involved with violence.…read more

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This is further supported by Dabbs who found that when
collecting testosterone levels from 692 prisoners, of those who had been involved with sex and
violence had higher testosterone levels than those criminals who had committed other crimes.
Additionally to this Vom Saal studied rats in utero. They found that female's rats who were
gestating next to male rats showed more aggressive behaviour once they were born, than those
females who were not gestating next to male rats.…read more

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Monozygotic twins (MZ) have100%
identical genetics whereas dizygotic twins (DZ) only share up to 50% of the same genetics, hence
why using the results is a good comparison tool showing gripping evidence.
McGuffin did a study comparing MZ and DZ twins for aggressive behaviour. He found a concordance
rate of 87% in MZ twins and 72% in DZ twins. These results show that there must be a clear genetic
link with aggression as the results between the MZ and DZ differ slightly.…read more

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The methodology of these studies can be critiqued due to observer bias as `aggressive
behaviour' is subjective and it could depend on the observer as to what defines as aggressive.
5. Describe and evaluate evolutionary explanations of human aggression
The evolutionary approach believes that aggression is innate from hunter-gatherer times. They
believe that aggressive behaviour must have some sort of evolutionary benefit as humans carry on
being aggressive. One reason as to why the evolutionary theory believes humans are aggressive to
gain status.…read more

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Females also take part in aggressive behaviour but research has shown females are less physically
aggressive and show more passive aggression such as gossiping and ostracising in order to decrease
the attractiveness of another female. This would make the other female less likely to be closer as a
mate making it adaptive as the gossiper gets one less rival for the best mates. Against the trend,
some females are physically aggressive. This questions the evolutionary theories suggestion of
adaption for aggression.…read more

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Even though the death rates in war are still high, as this aggressive behaviour is still happening
the cost must outweigh the benefits, therefore having some survival advantage. It is believed that
larger groups have a higher survival rate than smaller groups. Changon found that within the
Yanomamo tribes, they try and join with other villages as larger tribes will be less of a target than
smaller tribes. Changon also found that males of the Yanomamo fight to secure access to women.…read more


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