AQA A PSYCHOLOGY A2 AGGRESSION NOTES

AQA A PSYCHOLOGY A2 AGGRESSION NOTES

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AGGRESSION
SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY (SLT)
Bandura and Walters suggests that we learn by observing others e.g aggressive
behaviour.
Biological make up creates a potential for aggression the actual expression of
aggression is learnt.
OBSERVATION
Children learn aggressive behaviour through observing then imitating the
behaviour.
Children also learn about the consequences of aggressive behaviour by seeing if
they are praised or punished- vicarious reinforcement (able to decide whether it is
worth them repeating the behaviour)
MENTAL RESPRESENTATION
For SLT to take place child must form mental representations of events in their
social environment. Child will then decide in the future whether the reward is
greater than the punishment and therefore worth repeating.
STUDY
THE BOBO DOLL STUDY
Bandura et al: children observed aggressive and non-aggressive adult models
then tested for imitation in the absence of the model
Male and female children 3-5 years old. Half- aggressive adults hitting bobo
doll. Half- non aggressive adult towards doll.
Hitting the doll saying `POW'
Children shown toys that they were not allowed to play with (annoyed
them) Taken into a room with bobo doll
Aggressive condition- copied the model much more aggressive than the
other condition
1/3 repeated the verbal abuse whereas none did in the non-aggressive
group
Boys seen to be more aggressive than girls
STUDY
MOTIVATION TO AGGRESS
Bandura et al:
Children split into 3 groups each seeing a different ending to a film of an
adult behaving aggressively to a bobo doll.
Group 1: saw model rewarded
Group 2: saw model punished
Group 3: no consequences
Influenced by whichever ending they saw. High reward- more aggressive.
Punished- low level of aggression. No consequence- varied level of
aggression.
Children learnt about their consequences and acted accordingly.
AO2

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Phillips: daily homicide rates in the US almost always increased in the week
following a major boxing match suggesting viewers were imitating the boxers.
(SLT is also apparent in adults)
-Unlike operant conditioning SLT can explain aggressive behaviour when there is
no direct reinforicement. Even though the aggressive group saw someone being
aggressive to the doll he was never rewarded.
-Individual differences: Can explain differences in aggressive and non-aggressive
behaviour both between and within individuals.…read more

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The faceless crowd: Mullen: analysed newspaper cuttings of 60 lynching's in the
US. Found that the more people in the mob the greater the aggressive behaviour
to the victim.
Mann: The baiting crowd. 21 suicide leaps US. 10 of the 21 had a crowd to watch
them jump and urged them to jump. Baiting occurred more at night in a large
crowd as unidentifiable.
REDUCED PRIVATE SELF-AWARENESS
Prentice-Dunn: offer an alternative perspective to Zimbardos conclusion that
anonymity s an important determinant.…read more

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AO2
-evidence to support that peer violence is used to relieve the deprivation
imposed by institutional cultures such as prisons. Overcrowding, lack of privacy
influences violence,
-Individual differences: not all black/white people can be classed as this.
-Culture bias: studies only done in US so cannot generalise other countries.
-Gender bias: research only done on males so cannot generalise to all genders.
Intuitional aggression between groups
Dehumanisation: although humans normally have social norms about killing others
this changes if the target group is dehumanised.…read more

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Mann et al: gave 35 healthy people dexfenfluramine (reduces levels of serotonin).
Using questionnaires found that the drug caused MEN to become violent and
aggressive.
AO2
-Evidence of serotonin in aggressive behaviour in a study of monkeys. Diets with
high levels of serotonin decreased their aggressive behaviour. (non human
animals > cannot generalise to humans > low ecological validity)
-Drugs are seen to reduce aggressive behaviour.
-Reductionist: evidence in non-human animals etc.…read more

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Cortisol appears to have a mediating effect on other aggression linked hormones
such as testosterone maybe as it increases anxiety.
High levels of cortisol increase testos levels therefore increase aggressive
behaviour.…read more

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Therefore the gene and
environment must play a role for the gene to be a contributing factor.…read more

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UXOROCIDE (wife-killing)
Daly and Wilson: death of the partner from physical violence may be an
unintended outcome of an evolutionary adaption that was used for control
rather than death.
AO2
-Individual differences- not all males are violent towards their wives
-Gender bias- research only done on males where women can be abusers also
-Sampling problems- those being seriously abused would not have agreed to do a
questionnaire.…read more

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Costly signalling theory: Sosis: believes that inherent costs of religious rituals are
the crucial feature that contributes to the success of religion and natural
selection would have favoured their development.…read more

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