Pro and Anti Social Behaviour, Plus Media Influence

Revision notes on pro and anti social behaviour, and media influences

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Psychology Revision Pro and Anti Social Behaviour
Aggression is a form of anti-social behaviour. It is a behaviour that intends to harm someone else who
does not wish to be harmed.
Theories of Aggression
1. The Social Learning Theory of Aggression
According to the social learning theory put forward by Albert Bandura most behaviour (including
aggressive behaviour) is learned. Bandura distinguishes between the learning of aggressive behaviour
and the performance of it. He states that aggression can be learnt from models (parents, siblings, friends,
media characters etc) through observation, but the likelihood of it being imitated depends on the
perceived consequences of the models aggression.
There are three main stages to this modelling behaviour
1. Acquisition ­ Observing and learning the aggressive behaviour
2. Instigation ­ Taking part bit by bit in the aggressive behaviour
3. Regulation ­ if the aggressive behaviour continues or not, this is down to whether or not it is
Reinforcement determines the maintenance and regulation of the aggressive behaviour. Reinforcement
can be direct or indirect. Direct reinforcement is when the person who is acting aggressively is rewarded
or punished for it and indirect also known as vicarious reinforcement is when the person observes
someone else that has been aggressive being rewarded or punished for it.
Factors that determine whether Aggression is imitated;
If the model being observed is similar to the person observing them
If the model is admired in some way
The consistency of the models behaviour
If the observer is dependent on others or has a low opinion of themselves
If reinforcement is direct
Bandura argues that the development of self control is heavily influenced by the models children observe
and by patterns of direct reinforcement they encounter.
Supportive Evidence
Video Games - Cooper & Mackie ­
They found that aggressive behaviour increased in girls (9 & 10 years old) after they had played
aggressive video games.
Home Environment ­ Patterson ­
Patterson et al argued that there are certain factors that occur within the home that can be related
to the onset of aggression in children. Using a variety of methods; questionnaires, interviews, and
home observations they looked at families that has at least one aggressive child and compared them
to families of a similar size and socio-economic status whose children were not aggressive. They
found consistency in the aggressive homes for example; affection was rarely displayed, aggressive
techniques were used to cope with situations and discipline was demonstrated through physical
punishment and verbal ridicule.
They argued that aggressive behaviour could develop in this environment because:
1. Extreme discipline and lack of control can damage bonding between parent and child
2. Parents behaviour can provoke aggressive behaviour in children
3. Children may model the aggressive behaviour patterns used by their parents.
Banduras Bobo Doll Experiment ­
1. Firstly young children watched an adult behave aggressively towards a bobo doll; the adult
punched and kicked the doll, also hitting it with a hammer.

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A sense of frustration / stress was then induced on the children by making them walk quite a
distance to another room, which was filled with toys, including the hammer and a bobo doll.
3. Once in the room they were watched through a one way mirror and rated for their aggression.
The children who had watched a model behaving aggressively were more violent and imitated
some of the exact behaviours they had observed.…read more

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It soon became apparent that the hypothesis in its original form was an overstatement but future studies
demonstrated that the greater the degree of frustration the greater the likelihood of aggression.
Close to achieving goal
Harris manipulated the variable frustration by having confederates barge their way into bus stop,
cinema and supermarket queues either in front of a. The 2nd person in line (high frustration) or b. The
12th person (low frustration).…read more

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Prentice-Dunn et al argue that deindividuation occurs due to public or private self-awareness. Public
self-awareness is the individual's sense of being visible to other people. When they are less visible and
less likely to be identified they feel more anonymous and this reduces their self-awareness and as a
result they feel a greater chance of getting away with behaviour that might otherwise be punished.
Private self-awareness is an individual's own sense of self, their inner thoughts and feelings.…read more

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Environmental Stressors on Aggression
They physical environment may have significant effects on human behaviour. Heat, noise and crowding
may result in heightened physiological and psychological arousal; which in turn could lead to aggressive
Temperature ­ Supportive Evidence
Riots and Violent Crime in the US
Calsmith and Anderson analysed disturbances in 79 US cities between 1967 and 1971. They found a
significant relationship with the hotter the weather the greater the likelihood of a riot. Anderson also
suggested a relationship between temperature and violent crime.…read more

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Donnerstein and Wilson
Donnerstein and Wilson gave participants an essay to write, half of the participants were angered
by having their essays criticised and the other half were praised. The participants were then given
the opportunity to give a confederate an electric shock when she made a mistake on a learning task.
During this part of the experiment participants wore headphones that transmitted low intensity
(slightly unpleasant) or high intensity (very unpleasant) noise.…read more

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Pro Social behaviour is a term used to describe behaviour that is beneficial to others. It includes helping,
rescuing, protecting, sharing and cooperating etc. what counts as pro-social behaviour depends on the
values of society.
Altruism is a form of pro-social behaviour in which people will voluntarily help another at some cost to
themselves. There are components to Altruistic behaviour;
1. Voluntary
2. Aimed to benefit others
3. Done with out expectation of reward
There are biological and psychological explanations for altruistic behaviour.…read more

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The results of these experiments generally supported the empathy altruism hypothesis. In the easy
escape/dissimilar attitudes conditions, 18% of participants stayed and helped. In the easy
escape/similar attitude condition 90% of participants helped.
2. The Negative State Relief Model
Robert Cialdini proposed the Negative State Relief Model; it argues that the primary motive for help
another person is really to help themselves. Individuals help to reduce or remove the feeling of their own
distress at seeing the person in need.…read more

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Evidence drawn from labs lack external validity. Can the findings really be generalised?
Participants may have helped due to fear of disapproval (social desirability) or demand
characteristics may have occurred.
Altruistic behaviour can be based on assessment of time and effort (cost) not only egoism/empathy.
Baron found that participants are more likely to help when they are in a good mood ­ `thinking
Helping is influenced by numerous factors, family, health and skills etc.…read more

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Latane and Darley's Decision Model
There are 5 steps within the decision model of bystander behaviour.
1. Notice of the Event
2. Interpretation of the Event ­ Do they actually need help?
3. Do they Assume responsibility?
4. Do they Select a way to help?
5. Does the bystander Implement the selected decision?
They do identify a number of processes that can affect various parts of the decision making chain and
lead to bystander apathy.…read more


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