Aggression - Psychology Revision Mini Plans

Only includes content for reduced specification exams in 2022.

  • Created by: katie073
  • Created on: 29-04-22 12:08

Outline and evaluate neural factors in aggression

AO1: Limbic system: Hypothalamus, Hippocampus, Amygdala


  • Only focuses on nature explanation for aggression - ignores nuture (environmental impact)
  • Biologically reductionist - reduced to neurological level - interactionist stance 
  • Research support - 56, 26 year old males with varying histories of violence had MRI scans - showed negative correlation between volume of amygdala and higher levels of violence - reduced amygdala volume can predict aggression
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Outline and evaluate hormonal factors in aggressio

AO1: Testosterone - regulates social behaviour via influence on areas of the brain and body involved in aggression - Simpson study: mice castrated and had HRT - led to increase in aggression


  • Focuses on nature - disregards nurture (environmental factors)
  • Biologically reductionist - improve through interactionist stance
  • Research support - Middle Ranking Monkey study - increased middle monkey's testosterone levels + it made no attempt to become leader but did increase aggression towards lower ranked monkeys - found correlation but no causal link
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Outline and evaluate genetic factors in aggression

AO1: Twin + adoption studies - twin studies show heritability accounts for 50% variance in aggression + adoption studies show genetics accounts for 41% variance in aggression + MAOA - L Gene + diathesis stress


  • Interactionist stance - diathesis stress = nature + nurture
  • Research support - Brunner study - Dutch family with MAOA-L gene and abnormally low levels of MAOA enzyme - high levels of aggression
  • Biologically determinist - aggression is biologically predetermined - negative implications for legal system as people can't be held responsible for their violent actions
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Outline and evaluate the influences of media on ag

AO1: Excessive TV viewing linked to aggression + Bandura's 2nd Bobo Doll Study (children imitate aggressive role model even when shown on screen) - TV violence only accounts for 1-10% of children's aggression + computer games contribute to aggression, more so as gaming tech advances


  • Research support - 44 adolescents played 20 mins of violent / non violent video game - fMRI scans found increased activity in amygdala + decreased in prefrontal cortex in aggressive condition
  • Deterministic approach is socially sensitive - cannot be used to excuse violence
  • Doesn't consider other causal factors - Ferguson's meta analysis of studies on effects of computer games on violence - shows they fail to control for other, more significant influences - lacks internal validity
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Outline and evaluate explanations of media influen

AO1: Desensitisation (biological effect) + disinhibtion (social effect) + cognitive priming (cognitive effect)


  • Research support - Krahe - habitual viewers of violent media had lower levels of anxious arousal and higher levels of pleasant arousal after watching violent film clips - evidence for desensitisation
  • Deterministic research - socially sensitive - suggests lack of free will over violent behaviour - not an excuse for violence
  • Research support - Bushman - participants that watched violent film delivered longer and higher intensity punishment to their imaginary opponent than those in non violent condition - evidence for cognitive priming
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