A2 psychology revision

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  • Created on: 16-06-11 17:17

Social Learning Theory

Bandura et al: bobo doll studies

1) imitation via direct observation - 70% in non-aggressive/control groups had 0 ratings of aggression - aggressive cond. showed great deal of physical & verbal aggression

2) imitation via film - model reward/no consequence cond. = significantly more imitative than model punished cond. - when offered personal reward ALL 3 groups performed behaviours

+ Hicks: found 40% of acts displayed by models could be reproduced 8 months later

+ Real world applications: aggressive films - high ecological validity

- Bobo doll fit for purpose: operationalisation of aggression

- Role model used: children more likely to observe peers acting aggressively towards toys

- Generalisability: can we conclude adults act in the same way?

- Environmental determinism

- Reductionist

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Cultural Transmission of SLT

Mead: cultural differences in levels of aggression supports SLT - different role models showing different behaviours

Patterson et al: learning of aggression within the family relies on imitation of role models/parents behaviour - therefore in different cultures, where aggression isn't valued, it cannot be observed or imitated!

Aggression is rare in some cultures - not valued & children not punished in the same ways (direct & vacarious reinforcement minimised)

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Diener et al: trick or treat study - non-identifiable children more likely to steal in groups (anti-social behaviour)

Dodd: what would you do if your actions had no consequences? - 36% of prisoners answered with something anti-social - same % as rest of population

Prentice-Dunn & Rogers: through deindividuation we lose both our public & private self-awareness = loss of normal inhibitions

Zimbardo: argues deindividuated behaviour is a primitive urge to act outside social norms -> prison study - guards deindividuated with uniform & sunglasses - became very aggressive

Milgram-like shocks: pps who were unidentifiable shocked more readily

Rhem et al: handball study - children in uniform acted more aggressively

Gergen, Gergen & Barton: darkened room arousal study - deindividuation doesn't necessarily lead to aggression

Watson: cross cultural variation - societies who changed appearance in war = more likely to kill, torture & mutilate victims

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Institutional Aggression - Situational Models

1. Deprivation Theory

Sykes: prison subculture eminates from within the institution

Outlined 5 deprivations: 1) deprivation of liberty, 2) deprivation of autonomy, 3) deprivation of goods & services, 4) deprivation of heterosexual relationships, 5) deprivation of security

Cheeseman: in a prison environment, there is a lack of real purpose/goals except to reduce stress = aggression!

2. Popcorn Model - Folger & Skarlicki

1st person to act aggressively is like 1st piece of corn to pop - therefore should concentrate on what factors cause 'heat' to be applied in first place (e.g. deprivations)

Even prisoners who don't bring values of aggression can act aggressively with enough 'heat'

+ Suggests ways of reducing aggression

- Individual differences not considered

- Environmental determinism

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Institutional Aggression - Importation Model

Prisoners bring a 'ready made' way of behaving to the prison environment

Alcohol addiction: 1 of attributes that contributes to institutional aggression - Mills et al: higher levels of alcohol dependence = more 'severe institutional misconduct'

Race & age: evidence from USA that non-white & younger inmates are more aggressive - Kane & Janus: these inmates often live in a subculture where aggression is valued, resepcted & reinforced -> disenfranchised

Irwin & Cressey: identified 3 prison subcultures: 1) criminal/thief subculture - who conform to thief career attitudes, 2) convict subculture - who have spent majority of life in prison-system, 3) conventional/'straight' subculture - 1 time offenders

+ Delissi et al: gang membership outside prison & institutional aggression positively correlated

+ Poole & Regoli: pre-institutional aggression a good predictor of aggression in prison

- How can we manage institutional aggression? - attributed to factors beyond control of prison

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Brain Structure - Amygdala

Kleuver-Bucy syndrome - taming effect in rhesus monkeys when temporal lobes removed (amygdala destroyed)

Narabyashi et al: 43 out of 51 patients whose amygdala was destroyed through psychosurgery showed reduced aggression

Mark & Ervin: case study of female patient - electrical stimulations of amygdala = facial grimacing & flinging herself against wall

Ashford: temporal lobe epileptics often become very aggressive

Wong et al: criminals with  violent tendencies had reduced size amygdala

Van Elst et al: aggressive patients with temporal lobe epilepsy had reduced size amygdala

- Muller et al: male psychopaths & male controls showed increased activity in amygdala when shown a series of positive/negative images

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Brain Structure - Prefrontal Cortex

Regulates emotional responses driven by the amygdala - damage results in impulsivity, immaturity & loss of control

Anderson et al: damage during infancy related to aggressive behaviour as adults

Raine et al: found reduced glucose metabolism in prefrontal cortex of murderers

Volkrow et al: violent psychiatric patients had reduced blood flow to prefrontal cortex

Phineas Gage Case Study: 'no longer Gage' - effects on personality

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 Thought to inhibit aggressive responses - low levels associated with increased susceptibility to impulsive behaviour, aggression & violent suicide

Mann et al: drugs which reduced serotonin increased meaures of hostility & aggression in males (hostile aggression - what about other types?)

Bond: anti-depressants reduce aggression (work by increasing serotonin levels)

Scerbo & Raine: meta-analysis supports low level of serotonin idea

- Lenard: serotonin not only linked with aggression


Link less well established (not supported by Scerbo & Raine's meta-analysis)

Lavine: amphetamines increase aggression, Buitelaar: anti-psychotics reduce aggression

- Couppis & Kennedy: dopamine reinforces aggression through reward pathways - not cause!

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Testosterone thought to act on areas of the brain which control aggression from young adulthood & also thought to be primary biochemical influence on aggression

Dabbs et al: salivary testosterone levels able to distinguish between violent & non-violent crimes

Lindman et al: aggressive behaviour in drunk males positively correlated with testosterone levels

Wagner et al: castrated male mice = decreased aggression (increased when given testosterone again)

Wingfield et al: testosterone levels rise in monogamous species in response to social challenges

- Archer & Book et al: didn't find same link in meta-analyses

- Gender bias: Archer et al - high testosterone in women = high occupational status (aggressive?!)

Cortisol mediates other hormones (high levels inhibit testosterone)

Virkuunen: low levels of cortisol in habitual violent offenders

Tennes & Kreye: found same link in schoolchildren

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Twin studies mostly focused on criminal behaviour

Coccaro: aggressive behaviour in adult twin pairs - 50% variance in direct aggression attributed to genetics

Adoption studies

Hutchings & Mednick: over 14,000 adoptions & criminal convictions - sig. no. of boys w/ convictions had biological parents with criminal convictions 

MAOA gene responsible for producing monoamine oxidase - regulates metabolism of serotonin

Brunner et al: Dutch family case study - many male members involved in serious crimes of violence has abnormally low levels (defect later identified)

Genes & environment interaction 

Caspi et al: males with variant associated with low levels of MAOA = sig. more likely to exhibit anti-social behaviour if maltreated

Brennan: genetic influences significant in property crime - biological & adoptive parents important

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Infidelity & Jealousy

Davy & Wilson: claim men, in particular, have evolved a no. of mate-retention strategies that deter mates from leaving or committing adultery

Retaining a mate = important due to chance of passing on genes - mate-retention strategies enhance reproductive fitness

Cuckoldry: women deceives partner into investing in offspring conceived with another man - cuckolded men lose both invested resources & reproductive opportunity (Shackelford)

Shackelford et al: 2 independent studies of men & women in committed, heterosexual relationships

  • found males use of 2 broad mate-retention strategies (intersexual negative inducements & 'direct guarding') to be correlated with violence
  • men who consistently used emotional manipulation were also more prone to using violence

+ Real world applications - could help friends & family recognise signs of violent realtionships

- Gender bias: can this explain female aggression/violence?

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Group Display of Aggression

Freud: the mind-set of an individual in a crowd differs - merging of minds reduces normal inhibitions

Contagion Theory: Le Bon - atmosphere of group causes contagion - group memebers are suggestible which, combined with anonymity = irrational, emotional or 'mob' behaviour

Deindividuation: losing sense of idenityt from being in large group, also results in gaining social identity of group -> anonymity, diffusion of responsibility, group size most important factors

Emergent-Norm Theory: Turner & Killian - crowd behaviour is 'normless' - group looks to others & base behaviour on theirs (compliant & motivated by seeking approval) - crowds are a logically thinking mass of individuals: behaviour not irrational or predictable

Social Identity Theory: Reicher - group behaviour involves inter-group behaviour - people don't lose identity but assume shared identity that promotes belonging & purpose (in absence of direct confrontation, there is often a symbolic confrontation - e.g. riots in St.Pauls directed at symbols of government)

Lynch Mobs: Mydral - suggests fundamental cause is fear, Patterson: lynch mobs were more active during end of C19th due to major social transition - entire community at risk, Blalock: power-threat hypothesis - groups who pose threat to majority more likely to be discriminated

Xenophobia: MacDonald - overperception of threat less costly - part of natural selection

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