Social Explanations into Aggression PSYA3


Social Learning Theory - AO1

Social Learning Theory (Bandura)

  • Bandura beleived that children learned through observing what a significant other did, such as a parent and repeating the action.
  • Children adapt the behaviour they see through reinforcement for example if they a reward being given they are likely to do this action so they can get the same reward.
  • However for learning to take place the child needs to learn what they have done in the behaviour, in Banduras Bo Bo doll experiment parents were hitting a doll. The children needed to understand that being violent to the doll would result in a reward.
  • The child will repeat the aggression aslong as the reward being given exceeds the punishment.
  • Those who are rewarded are more confident to repeat however those who get punished are less confident.
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Social Learning Theory - AO2

Research support of SLT.

  • In the Bo Bo study learning would take place depending on whether a reward or punishment was in place. If there was a reward the child would repeat the behaviour however if there was a punishment they would be less likely to copy. (Bandura)
  • A study in America showed that the amount of homicides taken place in a week would increase the week after a Major Boxing match. This shows that even adults can be adapted to SLT (Phillips)
  • SLT shows that, unlike operant conditioning it can explain aggressive behaviour in the absence of direct reinforcement. It showed after children watched an aggressive model they did not get any reinfocement but still copied the action (Bandura)
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Social Learning Theory - AO3

  • Ethical issues- exposing children to aggressive behaviour and aggressive people can for them to be violent and can raise ethical issues. This would mean it would be hard to establish the validity of the study.
  • Validity- It is possible that in the study the children were showing demand characteristics and doing what they thought they were suppose to do to complete the research.
  • Cultural Differences- in some cultures children arent rewarded or punished for aggressive behaviour but simply ignored or there attention distracted so that attention is not drawn to the bad behaviour, this is shown in the Kung San tribe.
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Deindividuation - AO1

Deindividuation theory.

  • This theory is the beleif that once in a crowd/group of people they feel anonymous.
  • This means that they feel they can act anti-social without feeling they will get caught or have any consequence of their actions.
  • Deindividuation stems from a low self-evaluation and a low concern for the opinion of other people around you.
  • Being anonymous reduces inner restraints which can increase anti-social behaviour.
  • In germany, children playing in a orange uniform played more aggressively than children who didnt have a uniform on. (Rhem)
  • When on their own they focus on their own morals however when in a group their self morals diminish.
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Deindividuation - AO2

Deindividuation theory.

  • Research support.
  • The prison experiment showed that putting people into roles can cause them to act in a way which they wouldnt normally in a real life situation. The prison experiment got so violent it was stopped days after it started. (Zimbardo)
  • Participants were dressed up in KKK uniform, nurses uniform and their own clothes. Results showed that those dressed at KKK shocked more and those dressed as nurses shocked less than those dressed in ordinary clothes showing that people respond to normative cues such as a uniform. (Downing)
  • Limited evidence.
  • A meta-analysis of 60 studies showed that there was insufficient evidence to support the theory or deindividuation.
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Deindividuation - AO3

  • Gender Bias- Women/men react differently to deindividuation. Men have an increase in aggression while women don't.
  • Cultural Differences- Those who change appearence before war by either uniform or paint show and increase in violence while fighting. 
  • Real World Application- 21 suicides were analysed and when they were being urged to jump they were more likely too (10/21). Also if they were going to jump at night and they were high above the crowd they are more likely to jump due to an increase anonymity.
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Insitutionalised Aggression - AO1

Institutionalised Aggression within groups: Prisons - AO1

  • When prisoners go in prison their social history goes with them and they dont start off on a 'clean slate' if they showed violence outside prison they are likely to show it inside too.
  • Members of a gang on the outside show increase violence when in prison. They are also 10x more likely to murder someone and 3x more likely to assault someone. (Huff)
  • The deprivation model suggests that aggression is the product of stress and oppressive conditions such as being in a cell, crowding and limited daylight.
  • The loss of liberty, autonomy and security is thought to lead to the increase in violence. A study showed that the increase in potential threat showed that anxiety increased and therefore violence would simulteaneously. (Sykes)
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Institutionalised Aggression - AO2

Institutionalised Aggression withing groups: Prisons.

  • Research Support.
  • Black inmates had significantly higher rates of violence but lower rates of alcohol related misconduct than white males. (Harer and Staffenmeier)
  • Over crowding, lack of privacy and the lack of meaningfull activity all significantly influenced peer violence in prisons. (McCockle)
  • Research Contradiction.
  • Increased space for inmates showed no decrease in violent incidence. (Nijman)
  • Inmates with prior street gang membership were no more likely than other inmates to gain in violent behaviour, this could be explained by the fact the gang members were isolated from the other members as shown when gang members were put in isolation they showed 50% less aggression. (Fischer)
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Institutionalised Aggression - AO1

Institutionalised Aggression between groups: Genocide - AO1

  • In aggression one group would dehumanise another in order to influence aggressive behaviour.
  • An example of this is was the Hutu tribe controlled the radio and told the Hutu to kill their tutsi neighbours and refferred to them as cockroaches.
  • Also it was beleived that the nazi regime managed to kill so many people due to people following the orders of those above them.
  • This was also shown in the Milgram experiment with the electric shocks, they were told to continue by a man who was thought to be the experimenter and a large majority of people did.
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Institutionalised Aggression- AO2

Institutionalised aggression between groups: Genocide.

  • Research Support.
  • Dehumanisation can explain violence against immigrants seen by some as 'polluting threats to the social order'.
  • Research Contradiction.
  • Milgrams study is claimed to be monocausal meaning that it ignores other causes. (Mandal) For example a study taken out showed that the Nazis at that time was caused by a form of anti-semitism that was entrenched in the German people at that time that they implicitly condoned the elimination of millions of jews. (Goldhagen)
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Institutionalised Aggression - AO3

  • Real World Application- It was said that violence was most likely to occur in places which are hot, noisey and crowded. A prison was set up with more space, a veiw from outside, noise over played by local radio stations and temperature lowered. This showed that violence decreased (Wilson)
  • Real World Application- Social Dominance Orientation is a personality factor, those high is SDO see the world as a competitive place. People high is SDO are likely to dehumanise others in order to acheive a goal.
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