Evolutionary explanations for group display in humans at sporting events

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Psychology unit 3 aggression
Evolutionary explanations for group display in humans- sporting events
Description- natural selection
Natural selection can be used to explain aggression in sporting events as the
behaviour could represent vestigial behaviours which in the past either helped
survival or reproduction. For example, males are still competitive as historically
they needed to compete for resources and drive away rivals. Today these
behaviours don't help survival or reproduction but they still occur as the
behaviour is innate and the genes are still present in the population.
Rivals- competition between males for females in the past meant that
rivalry helped males to obtain females, now it doesn't but males are still
aggressive which is an example of vestigial behaviour.
Competition- driving off competition which helped survival in the past and
whilst it doesn't help survival now, we are still driven to remove competition
which is an example of vestigial behaviour.
Description- Xenophobia
This is an unreasonable fear of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign
or strange. In the past being xenophobic offered an advantage for survival as we
would have been prepared to defend ourselves from potential new rivals.
Therefore today we continue to be xenophobic as the genes that determine
xenophobia are still present.
Evaluation of Xenophobia
/ Evans and Rowe analysed data from 40 football matches that were played in
continental Europe and involved both English club sides and the English national
side. They used post match reports and interviews with the police and found there
was more aggression with the national football game than the club games. This
supports the role of Xenophobia in sport as because there was more aggression in
the international matches, this suggests fans were more hostile to foreigners than
to those of their own nationality. However, it could just be that the English
national team have more aggressive fans. Also there are more people at national
matches and club matches tend to be better policed.
German teams wore a T-shirt that said `My friend is a foreigner' because when
fans saw international matches they wouldn't be aggressive to foreigners when
they saw this. This suggests the explanation of Xenophobia is valid and has useful
applications as they campaign worked.
Marsh claimed that most violent behaviour is actually highly organised and
ritualised such as chanting and therefore not a true reflection of Xenophobia. This
means that Xenophobia may not be a valid explanation of group display in humans

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Psychology unit 3 aggression
at sporting events. Marsh also stated that group displays could act as catharsis
which is when negative emotions are transferred onto something else, allowing for
the safe release of negative emotions. This is connected to the psychodynamic
explanation which suggests the evolutionary theory may be wrong. The explanation
may also be reductionist as other factors such as deindividualisation are ignored
meaning only a limited understanding of the causes of aggression at sporting events
is gained.…read more


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