Social Learning Theory

A01: Aggression is learnt through observation of role models, Vicarious reinforcement e.g observing postive rewards of aggresive behaviour, Child forms a mental representation of the aggression and consequences, Cognition play a role - decides whether to imitate the behaviour or not

IDA: Theory can be considered socially sensitive, It blames parents for exposing children to violence and may suggest they are violent themselves, It does not account for the possibility that a child is naturally aggressive

EVIDENCE: Bandura - bobo doll, non/aggressive adult, children who observe aggression display aggression, Bandura and Walters - Group 1= reward, group 2= punish, Group 3= no consequence, Group 1 display most aggression, Walters and Thomas - non/violent film, adults who watch violent film = higher shock (milgram)

A03: Lab experiment means it is controlled but lacks ecological validity,Mundame realism,Can establish cause and effect (high internal validity)

WIDER EVALUATION: Practical applications, aggression could be 'unlearnt'

1 of 11


A01: Loss of personal identity and responsibility, Caused by eg. group of people, being in uniform, darkness, or altered state, Zimbardo sugests that anonymity increases aggression,Prentice-Dunn and Rogers said that a lowering of private self-awareness creates aggression

IDA: There are ethical issues with carrying out research into deindividuation, It may lead to increased aggressive behaviour, Cannot determine precise relationship between deindividuation and aggression

EVIDENCE: Zimbardo - all female, half dressed in white gowns half with name tags, anonymous gave higher shocks (milgram) than those wearing name tags, Johnson and Downing - replicated Zimbardo but used surgical gowns, anonymous gave less shocks, Watson - 23 war orientated cultures, those who painted faces/wore masks were more likely to torture or mutilate captives

A03: Lab experiments give high control but are artificial, maybe the costumes (Zimbardo, Johnson and Downing) became the IV, Watson has good population validity

WIDER EVALUATION: Practical applications, reduce deindividuation in prisons/police

2 of 11

Institutional Aggression: Importation Model

A01: Aggression is not a product of the institution, Inmates have predispositions to aggression, Personal characteristics of inmates are imported into the prison, Aggression is the product of aggressive inmates

IDA: Socially sensitive, May create a reduction in prison imporvements, Creates negative implications for ex-inmates in later life

EVIDENCE: Irwin and Cressey - younger inmates, impoverished background = more aggressive, Keller and Wang - max security prisons report more assaults on staff

A03: Natural experiments mean we cannot establish cause and effect, Extraneous cariables may have created the observerations

WIDER EVALUATION: Too simplistic which reduces practical applications, Determinist

3 of 11

Institutional Aggression: Power of the Situation a

A01: Aggression is situational not dispositonal, Lack of external constraints and peer pressure create aggression, Dehumanising labels create targets for aggression, Even calm people can be made to act aggressively

IDA: Determinist, Suggests we have no control over our behaviouring ignoring free will, We are simply victims of environmental circumstance

EVIDENCE: Zimbardo - mock prison, guards or inmates, study ended early because of aggressive guards, Bandura - students overheard "animals" or "nice people", animal group gave higher shocks

WIDER EVALUATION: Practical applications, reducing prison aggression - more external constraints, Name's not numbers

4 of 11


A01: Aggression is inherited, a close genetic relationship increases chances of aggression, More aggressive forebearers = more aggressive

IDA: Biologically determinsit as it ignores free will over our behaviour, removes responsibilty from aggressive people, creating issues of socail sensitivity

EVIDENCE: McGuffin and Gottesman - concordance rate, MZ=87% DZ=72% (twin study), Hutchings and Mednick - Dannish adoption study, strong correlation between number of violent crimes committed by parents and biological son compared to adoptive parents

A03: Correlation study means no cause and effect can be established, Natural experiments = reeduced control, All male, Dannish participants reduces population validity

WIDER EVALUATION: Biologically reductionist, Ignores other factors e.g environment which limits our understanding of aggression

5 of 11

MAO-A (Warrior Gene)

A01: Inherit genetic mutation causing an MAO-A deficiency, Found on the X chromosome so men are more likely to have it, Creates an excess of monoamine neurotransmitters, Predisposes the individual to become aggressive when stressed e.g confused, upset

IDA: Biologically determinsit as it ignores free will, May not be 100% logical - not everyone with the gene is aggressive, It labels people who have the gene as aggressive

EVIDENCE: Brunner - urine samples of 5 carriers, high keveks of neurotransmitter chemicles in urine, Vishnevetskaya - Mice with the gene are more aggressive but not to juvenile/asleep mice, Dutch Family - four generations carry the gene, cannot control impulsive aggression

A03: Natural experiments mean we cannot establish cause and effect, Urine sample is a scientific measure increasing validity, Use of animals reduces population validity

WIDER EVALUATION: Socially sensitive, It may be suggestes that carriers of the gene should not have children

6 of 11

Hormonal Mechanisms

A01: High testosterone causes aggression and a need for dominance (Theory 1), High testosterone and low serotonin causes aggression as frustration causes stress and the amygdala is not under control (Theory 2), Mismatch effect (Theory 3)

IDA: Determinst as it ignores control over our own behaviour, Ignores Free will, May create negative labels, especially for men

EVIDENCE: Kreuz and Rose - 21 young male prisoners,testosterone related to nature of crime (violent or not), Josephs - men and women with high testosterone react negatively to a loss in status, same the other way around (low testosterone high status)

A03: Naturally occuring means no cause and effect, Small sample reeduces population validity

WIDER EVALUATION: Reductionist as it ignores other factors

7 of 11

Neural Mechanisms

A01: Low serotonin creates impulsive aggression, normal calming inhibitory effect of the amygdala is gone, affecting the frontal brain areas, creates a predisposition to aggression and a lack of control over impulsive aggression

IDA: The Theory is biologically reductionist, it simplifies a complex behaviour down to simply neural mechanisms, it ignore others factors and does not actually explain why aggression occurs

EVIDENCE:  Crocket - repeated mesaures, tryptophan protein drink (creates serotonin) one day, not the next, on the non drink day participants reacted aggresively to unfair deals in a money splitting game, Davidson - violent criminals had lower serotonin levels than non-violent criminals

A03: Lab experiments create control but are also artificial reducing ecological validity, repeated mesaures may create order effect, Davidsons natural experiment means no cause and effect can be established.

WIDER EVALUATION: It has practical applications, SSRI's can be administered to increase serotonin levels, some foods are naturally high in serotonin e.g chocolate, nuts

8 of 11

Infidelity and Jealousy

A01: Infadelity increases a males chance of reproducing and passing on genes, Sexual jealousy is a real or imagined fear of losing one's status as an exclusive sexual partner, it is an adaptive response to ensure the faithfulness of a partner, It creates mate retention behaviours, without a faithful mate a man cannot pass on his genes

IDA: Other theores may better explain aggression, it cannot explain why there are so many cases of marital murder, impossible to collect supporting empiracle evidence, cannot determine precise nature of relationship between aggression and evolution

EVIDENCE: Buss - 37 cultures, men value sexual faithfulness, women value emotional faithfulness, Daly and Wilson, 80 murdersm 29% arose from sexual jealousy, majority started by man, Miller - 44 victims of domestic abuse, 55%=sexual jealousy, 25%=their own infadelity, no friends, not allowed to go shopping on their own

A03: All anecdotal evidence and so it lack validity, Buss had good population validity but the results do not actually relate to aggression

WIDER EVALUATION: Socially sensitive, unfair labelling of men, may reduce responsibilty for aggression, it is also determinist.

9 of 11

Group Displays - War

A01: Joining a group in war increases survival chances, success in war due to aggression results in access to resources, women and status, Mass **** makes people flee territory and passes on genes of the aggressor, those who are most aggressive will be succsesful and pass on their aggression through genetics

IDA: This explanation cannot exaplain why torture is a common feature of war, it cannot explain the existance of all female armies, other theories may be more appropriate e.g SLT

EVIDENCE: Chagnon - observed different branches of the Yanamano tribe, most succesful warriors had more wives and children, Bosnian War - 50,000 muslim women were ****d by Serbians

A03: All evidence is observational and so we cannot establish cause and effect, not empiracle, there may have been researcher bias

WIDER EVALUATION: The theory is determinist, it suggests that there will always be war in the word and ignores any free will indiciduals may exercise, it also creates issues of social sensitivity as it excuses mass ****.

10 of 11

Group Displays - Sporting Events

A01: Sporting events are a ritualised form of aggression with reduced physical risks, aggression suggests strength and so attracts potential mates, football hooliganism is the equivilant of cermenonial conflict between animals, Victory in matches provides status to both players and fans creating desirability for mates

IDA: We cannot be sure that this actually links to the evolutionary approach, would a victory in a sporting event really attract potential mates? Other theories may be better at explaining aggression, e.g SLT

EVIDENCE: Caildini - university football matches, victory meant more people wore clothes that identified them with the winning team, if the team won, "we won" and if lost "they lost", Marsh - observed that although football fans appear ultra violent, displays of aggresion rarely become physical.

A03: Real life setting increases ecological validity although no control over extraneous variables, observational evidence is not scientific meaning no cause and effect can be established

WIDER EVALUATION: The theory does not offer practical applications and it ignores other factors such as free will and biological factors.

11 of 11


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Aggression resources »