Social learning theory AO1

  • not born with it, learnt through imitation (role models)
  • more common when person they are observing is being rewarded (vicarious reinforcment), eg attention
  • attention- child has to be aware of behaviour
  • retention- retain information and code so recall can be achieved later on
  • production- physically and mentally able to repeat the behaviour with necessary skills
  • motivation- has to be motivated to carry out behaviour/expect a reward
  • Bandura bobo dolls- 66 3-5 year old children observing aggressive interaction of adult and bobo doll. Then placed with the bobo doll. Children who whitnessed adult be rewarded for aggression were most aggressive. Children who whitnessed adult be punished were least aggressive.
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Social learning theory AO2

1. Although study shows aggression being imitated from children, it lacks external validity as it was in a controlled lab experiment. - Children wouldnt have felt similar empathy as would have to real people - Difficult to apply - Demand charecteristics could have made equally invalid but would a child age 3-5 would have worked this out, unlikely.

2. Bandura believed it took a while to learn and repeat behaviour. - This contradicts his study findings, as was a short study. - To test his hypothesis correctly, he should have used a longitudiual study. - This possess problems such as drop out, and not being able to control extraneous variables. - Always methodological issues, is psychology a science? studying in lab lacks validity whilst studying less formally is criticised for being less scientific, can't eliminate issues.

3. Explains ethnical differences. - !Khung san tribe from kalahari desert are reported rarely aggressive, and are neither punished nor rewarded for such behaviour. It is avoided as it is devalued by society. - Absenece of reinforcement and role model means little motivation. explains why some ethnicities are more aggressive than others. -On other hand, if no motivation and all behaviour is learnt, should be no reason why children are acting aggressively at all.

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De individuation (part essay) AO1

- aggression caused when in a large group 

- disinhibition and lack of morals

- reduced sense on private self

- reduced public awareness, feeling anonomous with less responsibility 

- zimbardo's prison study; group of university students with fine mental health before hand, placed in an intense role play of prion, playing guards

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De individuation (part essay) AO2

1. participants show normal mental health before hand, but after being placed in intense role play, show very aggressive behaviour during the study. - Suggests behaviour was due to participants anonomity, feeling less responsible as part of a group. - due to it being a lab experiment, demand charecteristic could have been present. -people taking part could have behaved that was as they felt it's what the experimenter watned. - furthermore some participants admitted they behaved this was to encourage study to be used to improve prison conditions. - however could have been said due to shame

2. This type of aggression is particularly hard to study. subjective, aggressive to some and not to others, easy for researchesd to become biased and look for aggression. Research findings could be manipulated to give the conclusions they want. 

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Institutional aggression AO1

- aggressive behaviour present in institutions e.g. prison

- importation model; aggression occurs due to charecteristics that individual brings in, not due to instition itself. - suggests persons interpersonal factors from social history and traits are cause. 

- deprivation model; situational factors, policies, procedueres and physial deprivation 

- deprivation of liberty; trust in society

- deprivation of anatomy; choices and control

- deprivation of goods and services

- deprivation of hetrosexual relationships; could reduce self- worth

- deprivation of security; heightened sense of threat

- can be often applied to most institutions

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Institutional aggression AO2

1. Research can support both models. Johnston looked at over crowding prisons, and found higher leveles of aggression, deprivation model can explain this, less resources, have to fight for them as increased competition. 

Delsi, looked at records of inmates in violent street ganges. there was a small but positive correlation between street gangs and prison violence. Suggests inmates were just as aggressive before hande (importation model)

2. Gender bias often occurs in this research, means the findinds can not be generalised to females. As Dabbs found, testosterone is linked to aggression, and as we know men biologically have more testosterone, we can not conclude the same for women

3. deterministic, importation model suggests if we are aggressive before we WILL be aggressive in an institution. Deprivation model suggests anyone placed in institution will become aggressive. Lacks face validity here as we can see in real life application that this is not the case.

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Neural explanations AO1

- serotin and dopamine are of particular interest, high levels of dopamine and low levels of serotonin are associated with aggression

- serotonin reduces aggression by inhibiting responses to emotional stimulus 

- low levels therefore result in the brain being less able to control responses

- the link between dopamine and aggression is less established, but as amphetamimes increase dopamine and they have been linked to aggression

- Mann et al had 35 healthy subjects and given defenfluraine, then took aggession quiz after, he found an increase in aggression with males but not females. 

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Neural explanations AO2

1. the results from Mann et al study could be invalid. - participants may be lying and giving socially desirable answers to fit the sterotype. It is often socially accepted for men to be aggressive, but not so much women. - the change in aggression may be invalid. - it may also be invalid due to the subjective nature of the questionaire, what may be aggressive to someone, may not be to somebody else.  

2. Cause and effect is not established, most assume the aggressive behaviour causes the neurotransmitters to change levels, however it may be the other way round. - Ferrari found when looking at mice, after he allowed them to fight for 10 days, on the 11th day he prevented it, however there dopamine leveles remained high.  This suggests the mice prepared for aggessive behaviour therefore dopamine levels high, as opposed to aggression causing this rise.

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Hormonal explanation AO1

- testosterone, the nature of the link is not cause and effect, just an increase in the chance of aggression being expressed

- cortisol produced by adrenal medula has a negative correlation with aggression as low levels are linked with more aggression. this is because it inhibits testoseteone therefore mediates aggression

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Hormonal explanation AO2

1. McBurnett boys with behavioural problems had extremely low levels of cortisol. - they were also 3 times more aggressive than other boys their age. - However you can't generalise these findings as they have behavioural problems therefore individual differences is a big part. - these boys are likely to have different home lives and the psychodynamic approach would telol us they could be behaving this was as they feel they should (self-fullfilling prophecy)

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Genetics explaining aggression AO1/.AO2

1. Lagerpetz breed 25 generations of mice, with the least aggressive together and the most aggressive together. The findings show one super aggressive group and one very docile group. - However this could be due to social learning theory, therfore he cross-fostered the mice to remove this other factor. He put the most aggressive mice with non-aggressive parents, yet found there behaviour did not change. - Cant extrapolate findings as biologically different to humans, they will have different genetic information, could affect us in different way.

2. Some psychologists then looked into twin studies to test genetics and the misbehaviour and crime in thousands of twins. He found similar levels of similarity in mz and dz twins. - If it is genetics causing aggression, there should be a higher similarity in mz twins than in dz twins. - On the other hand, looking into adult twins, there is a higher similarity in mz than in dz. - this may be because when they are young they have less opportunity and choice about their lives, and aggression less easy

3. Despite this, twin studies suggest another factor must be present as there is not a 100% concordance rate in mz twins. - the protein MAOA may be linked to aggression as it regulates serotonin, and low levels are associated. A study on a dutch family of male members found they were very violent and had abnormally low levels of aggression. A second study then found it was only linked to aggression if the children were maltreated, if not maltreated, there was no link.

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Evolutionary Explanations AO1

Infidelity and jealousy 

- fear of losing mate to another male, concequences of not being able to pass on genes, male sexual jealousy developed 

- real or imagined threat to status as exclusive sexual partner

- caused by females suspected sexual jealousy

- infidelity has to be deterred so female doesnt become pregnant with another man's child

- adaptive response leading to male retention strategies

- direct guarding of mate, restriction of male access to her or violence


- explains muders as adaptive response, propose murder has evolved as a strategy to aid survival.

- Buss & Duntley claim ancestors murder was functional in, solving problems such as preventing harm to family, gaining reputation and protecting resources such as food, territory

- Murder could not have evolved as a strategy unless it was associated with reproductive success

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Evolutionary Explanations AO2

1. Shackleford et al surveyed men & women in commited hetrosexual relationships. - male questioned on retention strategies, women on their partners aggression. - male retention strategy scores correlated with their aggression. - when used in sensitive areas answers may not be truthfull, due to socially desirable answers, over reporting desirable behaviour and under reporting undesirable behaviour.

2. gender bias, mostly foccused on men's retention strategies and mens violence against women, real life application tells us women are equally able to show retention strategies and aggression. but purpose for this can not be evolutionary the same, is it so men do not give their resources away?

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