Hormonal factors in aggressive behaviour

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Psychology unit 3 aggression
Hormonal factors in aggressive behaviour
Description
The Basal model suggests that genes influence levels of testosterone which in turn
causes aggressive behaviours. Exposure to testosterone before puberty alters
neural networks forming pathways which are linked to aggressive behaviours.
Exposure to testosterone after puberty activates these pathways causing
aggression.
Evaluation
Vom Saal: showed that testosterone is linked to aggression by investigating
differences in aggression in female rats by studying the relationship between
their positions in the womb ad the levels of testosterone. Found that those closest
to the male rats received more testosterone and these were the most aggressive in
the litter.
Beeman: castrated male mice and found their aggressiveness decreased. He then
injected them with testosterone and this increased their aggressiveness.
Nazca Booby's: parent bird's lay 2 eggs when they hatch one chick kills the other.
Blood samples were taken from the chicks in 1 and 2 egg nests within 24 hours of
them hatching and also from the Blue footed Booby who doesn't show this
behaviour. Nazca chicks had 3 times the amount of testosterone than the Blue
footed Boobies. This could be because having a nest mate leads to exposure to
testosterone at a sensitive time of development. This shows a link between
testosterone and aggression.
Dabbs: found that male prisoners who had committed crimes involving sex and
violence had higher testosterone levels than inmates who committed crimes
involving theft. The high testosterone males also broke more prison rules involving
confrontation. This shows a link between testosterone levels and aggression.
Dabbs: looked at the relationship between testosterone levels and fraternity
behaviour. Measured testosterone levels of 240 members of 12 fraternities in 2
universities and compared this to descriptions of fraternity behaviour. Found that
high testosterone fraternity members had low achedemic achievement, smiled less
and were less generous. Those with the highest testosterone levels were boisterous
and macho, whilst those with low testosterone where attentive and helpful.
Low population validity- only male university students so can't generalise to
females or other people.
Correlational- know testosterone and aggression are linked but don;t know
if testosterone causes aggression

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Psychology unit 3 aggression
Methological evaluation
All studies were correlational
Cross species comparisons
Only looked at males, criminals and students
Theoretical evaluation
Only looks at testosterone so is reductionist and ignores other factors such
as genes and other hormones.
Contradictory evidence: reciprocal model states that environmental
influences can cause us to be aggressive and that increases testosterone
levels.…read more

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