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Evolutionary theory suggests that group display of aggression offers one group status over another,
giving them access to land and resources and their women. It has been argues that similar motivating
factors apply to group display behaviour in humans. Evolutionary theory suggests that group display
of aggression offers one group status over another, giving them access to land and resources and
their women. It also follows that individuals who are more aggressive and stronger will win wars and
survives to pass on their genes. This could then lead to the emergence of an increasingly aggressive
species that have evolved due to the essential benefits of war.
Support for the idea of aggression as an adaptive mechanism, which favours survival when
competing for resources was provided by Griskevicius et al (2009). 178 college students were asked
to imagine themselves in different scenarios; competitive, courtship or neutral scenario. Pps were
then asked to state, using a questionnaire, how they would respond to an insult. It was found that in
all motivational states women were less directly aggressive than men. They also found that men
were more inclined to direct aggression wen in the competitive scenario. These findings increase the
acceptability for the evolutionary claim that aggression is motivated by competition for resources.
However there are several of drawbacks towards the study conducted by Griskevicius et al, for
example one would be low sample size as only 178 participants participated in the study which
would be hard to use to generalise to the rest of the population consequently decreasing the
credibility of the study as the validity would also be decreased. As well as this only college students
were studied which is also a population validity issue as the participants are form the same age
group, therefore the findings towards the explanation of aggression may not be applicable to other
age groups decreasing its validity and as a consequence the explanation that it supports.
Another drawback to the study is that the findings were self-reported as the participants were given
a questionnaire which allowed them to fill in the answer that they desired, this is an issue as some
may exaggerate their answers or not answer truthfully which as a result decreases the credibility of
the study and in conjunction the explanation that it supports towards evolutionary explanations of
group display of aggression.
In addition it has been claimed that, in modern society, tribal warfare has been replaced by sporting
events in which different teams represent their tries. In some games certain moves require a great
deal of strength and athleticism. This allows for displays of behaviour attractive to females as they
are related to hunting skills off to beat their best advantage, and like hunters before them, the men
are most successful working cooperatively. Based on evolutionary views it explains why men want to
succeed to earn high wages to gain resources and status leading to women.
A real life example towards the support for group display of aggression in sports can be seen in a
game of rugby. A new zeland team known as `the new zeland all blacks' begin their matches with a
form of group display known as `Hakka'. This traditional Moori dance involves actions that are
designed to show strength. The Hakka must be performed in complete unison to be most effective.
This example increase the credibility of the explanation of group display of aggression as it shows
the length of which a group would go to in order to win which would help them gain resources which
is beneficial for them to gain status and women.
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Moreover a positive evaluation of this real life example is that it is high in ecological validity, as this
behaviour of aggression within groups have been spotted within a rugby match, this therefore
increases the validity of the example as well as the explanation that it supports towards evolutionary
explanations of group displays of aggression.
As well as this hooliganism associated with football in Europe has been suggested to be the human
equivalent of ceremonial conflict.…read more