HideShow resource information

Social learning theory

Suggests we learn aggressive behaviour through observation and imitation. Suggests we learn aggressive response through role models(celebrity, caregiver, similar). Also suggest they learn through vicarious reinforcement, if role model punished child avoids behaviour and if rewarded they imitate it.
Attention-child must pay attention to role model
Retention- child must be able to retain memory of aggressive behaviour
Reproduction- child must have ability to reproduce behaviour(self efficacy- confidence person has to perform aggressive behaviour)
Motivation- child expect to receive positive reinforcement

1 of 25

AO2/3 social learning theory

P; research
E;bandura bobo doll
L;aggression learnt
H; Havel and Newburn (1994)
P; cultural differences
E; !Kung San
L; little opportunity
H; practical applications

P; biological response
E; Mann et al (1990)
L; differed from SLT
H; lab and observation

2 of 25


People lose sense of social individual identity and engage in unsociable and aggressive behaviours. It is characterised by low self evaluation and evaluation of others. Leads to an increase in behaviour that would usually be inhibited by personal or social norms. It is more likely to occur when it's dark(more robberies committed at night), if someone's in a uniform so the responsibility is on the uniform, if there is a crowd so people are not viewed as individuals and if drugs or alcohol are involved as it stop people thinking rationally.

3 of 25

AO2/3 deindividuation

P; research
E; zimbardo
L; supports
H; Postmes and spears (1998)

P; nurture
E; situation/ environment
L; n/a
H; Anderson (1999)

4 of 25

Deprivation model of institutional aggression

Suggests it is not the individual that is aggressive but the stressful and oppressive situation/conditions of the institution that leads to aggressive behaviours.
HARER AND STEFFENSMIER (1996) suggest inmate behaviour is response o deprivation or pains of imprisonment. DAVISE AND BURGESS(1988) found prison staff with longer experience were less likely to be the victims of inmate aggression.
Pains of imprisonment;
Freedom- prisoners are not trusted to live in free world
Control- inmates have very little control of their life and make few decisions for themselves often told what to do without reasons.
Security- man prisoners fear for their safety and describe other inmates as violent

5 of 25

AO2/3 of deprivation model

P; research
E; jiang and Fisher-giorlando(2002)
L; supports
H; Nijman et al (1999)
P; real world application
E; reduce pains
L; supports
H; financially viable

6 of 25

Importation model of institutional aggression

IRWIN AND CASSEEY(1962) suggested that prisoners bring their own social histories and traits into prison with them which influences their adaptation to prison environment. Prisoners are not blank slates and violence is down to the people in the prison and not the environment.
Dis positional factors include;
Age- Young prisoners are thought to have a tougher time in prison and therefore view aggression as an appropriate response to conflict show by ADAMS(1981)
Gang membership- often continue gang cultur inside prison, high proportion of in at eon inmate violence is gang related. Uff found that gang member in US were ten times more likely to commit murder showing gang member commit higher level crimes.
Other factors- Kane and Janus (1981) found that greater periods of unemployment, lower education levels and more serious criminal records Were more likely to be aggressive in prison.
Mills Kroner and Weekes (1998) found that there was a positive correlation between level of alcohol dependency and level of aggression

7 of 25

AO2/3 importation model

P;research evidence
E; Keller and wang (2005)
L; supports
H; DeLesis (2004)
P;gender bias
E; male prisoners
L;no generalisations
H;young (1978)

8 of 25

Evolutionary explanation of aggression

It has been suggested by evolutionary psychologists that infidelity and jealousy can cause aggressive behaviours in humans. GREELY(1994) found that 11% of women had committed infidelity and 21% males. Males may commit infidelity as the more partners he has the more children he will have and more of his genes will survive. Women may commit infidelity because if they sleep with more than one man the fittest sperm will fertilise her egg and she will have two men who will believe the child to be his so both will focus on her and her child survival. Buss et all (1992) argues that showing aggressive behaviour will reduce and eliminate the threat of infidelity. Miller(1980) gathered data from 44 battered wives living in a hostel in Canada and found that 55% said jealousy was the reason for their husbands aggression. 11 said that actual infidelity were reason for assault and also said most beatings were motivated by suspicion. Males are more distressed by sexual infidelity as they can never be certain of paternity and does not wan to waste time or resources, therefore may become aggressive when trying to find out if child's his. Women are more affected by emotional infidelity as their partner is using time energy and resources that could be given to child therefore lead to aggressive behaviours. HADEN AND HOIJAT(2006) found that men were more likely to consider aggressive action against a rival. DALY AND WILSON(1985) found 58/214 murder cases involving 2 men and a woman were due to sexual jealousy. Buss say men have mate retention strategies including direct guarding, not letting women out.

9 of 25

AO2/3 evolution

P; research
E; Daly and wilson(1982)/Shackleford et al(2005)
H;Buss and Shacklefore(1997)
P;gender bias
E;alpha bias
H;women own survival
P; determinism
E; Vandermeersch and leveque(2002)

10 of 25

Biological explanations of aggression

Serotonin is thought to reduce aggression by inhibiting responses to emotional stimuli that might otherwise lead to an aggressive response. Serotonin usually reduces aggression by inhibiting the firing of the amygadala which could lead to aggressive behaviours. Therefore if there are low levels of serotonin in the brain there is less inhibition of the amygadala, as a result when it is stimulated by external events it become more active, causing the person to act on their impulses making aggression more likely. Davidson et al (2002) found that violent criminals had lower levels of serotonin compared to non violent criminals

11 of 25

AO2/3 of neural mechanisms

P; research
E; Mann et al (1990)
L; supports
H;levels out constant

12 of 25

Brain structures

Frontal lobes- area of the brain implicated in aggressive responses, the frontal lobes appear to have a role in the inhibition, control and direction of aggressive behaviours. Anderson et al (1990) found that individual who had damage to the frontal lobes at birth were more likely to show aggressive behaviours through their lives. Phone as gage was a railroad worker in the USA, in 1848 a steel rod flew into his head which removed a section of his frontal lobe. Gage survived and lived for 11 years, his personality changed before he was quiet hardworking and shrewd, after he became extravagant, anti-social, foul mouthed and a liar with bad manners. He frequently got into fights and could no longer plan for the future or hold down a job.
Amygadala- and lambic structures of the temporal lobe play important role in expression of emotions. Sustained electrical stimulation in a laboratory of the amygadala in animals produces fear and a rage response, where as lesions causes a calming affect(KLUVER-BUCY SYNDROME). Mark and Ervin(1970) found a similar effect in humans after electrically stimulating the amygadala of a female patient, it caused her to become angry and start attacking furniture. Similarly an amygadalectomy has been shown to reduce aggression in humans, it has also been shown to reduce many forms of emotion including empathy for other people. This in turn any create individuals who have the capacity to harm others with no remorse, they are less aggressive but more psychotic.

13 of 25

AO2/3 brain structures

P; research. E; Erikson et al (2013). L;Raine et al. H; case studies

All neural mechanisms!

P; practical applications. E; increase serotonin in aggressive people etc. L;n/a. H;not easy to do

P; nature. E; L;n/a. H;

14 of 25

Hormonal mechanisms

Testosterone- androgens are male sex hormones, the most important one being testosterone, which is produced in the leydig cells in the male testes and adrenal cortex. There has been evidence to argue that there is a positive correlation between testosterone an aggression level. For example this is shown in puberty aggression level increases with testosterone levels. Dabbs et al (1988) looked at female participants and testosterone levels in 84 prison inmates and found testosterone levels were linked to criminal violence.

VANGOOZEN(1997)- found that men undergoing a sex change and taking testosterone suppressants became less aggressive and sexual. He also fund tha women who were having testosterone injections became more aggressive and sexual.

15 of 25

AO2/3 for hormonal mechanisms

P; research E; L; H;
P; determinism. E; L; H;

16 of 25

Genetic factors in aggression

Twin studies (MZ 100%, DZ 50%) Rutter ET al (1990 carried out a meta analysis of twin studies in criminality, he found DZ twins have a concordance rate of between 13-22%, whereas MZ twins have a concordance rate of between 26-51% suggesting aggression is more likely to occur in identical twins due to genetics. Adoption studies- Hutchins and Mednick(1983) carried out a meta analysis in denmark on 14,00 adoptees and found boys with no criminal parents had a baseline rate of criminal convictions of 14%, if the adoptive but not the biological parents were criminals boys only had rate of 15% and if the biological parent but not the adoptive parents were criminals the rate increased to 20% and if both adoptive and biological parents were criminals the rate increased further to 25%

17 of 25

AO2/3 for twin studies and adoption studies

P; research evidence. E; miles and carey(1997) L; supports H; different studies have different estimates

18 of 25

The role of MAOA

MAOA gene is important in eliminating excess amounts of certain neurotransmitters including adrenaline and seratonin. Capsi et al (2002) studied over 400 New Zealand men and found that those that had low MAOA activity and had been abused in childhood were four times more likely to have been convicted of a violent crime by the age of 26.

19 of 25

AO2/3 for MAOA role

P; research e; Bruner et al (1993) l; supports. H; social learning

20 of 25

Gene- environment interaction

Due to the fact that there is never 100% concordance rates for DZ or MZ twins for aggressive behaviour, there must be anoth factor that contributes to the behaviour apart from genetics

21 of 25

AO2/3 gene-environment interaction

P; research E; capsi et al(2002) L; supports H; Hutchings and Mednick 25%

P; role of genetics E; environment L; interaction

P; nature E; genes L; n/a H; nurture

22 of 25

Group displays

A group display is when individuals act together and a public exhibition is carried out using gestures and sounds with its aim to help the survival of the species. Acting as a group can serve as an evolutionary advantage as members within a group gain access to resources such as land power and money. It is also important for the group survival and ensures continued existence for future generations.
Xenophobia- humans are altruistic towards embers of their own group but intolerant towards outsiders. Displays of aggression can occur due to xenophobia. It's evolutionary advantage is that people show aggression when faced with a potential threa to survival or reproduction, it ensures the group is protected and would send a signal to potential threats that the in-group is prepared to defend itself.

23 of 25

Sport and ware fare

Ware fare- costly and dangerous, does not make sense due to risks and possible extinction. Evolution could be used as a form sexual selection because displays of aggression and bravery are attractive to females. For example male warriors in traditional societies have more partners and more children (chignon 1988) such findings suggest a direct reproductive advantage. Also since there are often relatively few women compared to men in theses societies therefore men have to compete for a mate (Divale&Harris 1976). Displays of aggression by individual warriors gain peer respect and strengthen the bond between males in the group.
Sport- xenophobia plays large part of in group displays of aggression in sport. Teams can be scared of unknown opposition whic. Pose a threat to them. Territoriality (the protective response to an invasion of ones own territory is another evolutionary explanation for group displays in sport. EG New Zealand team carry out HAKKA before every game originally performed by warriors before going to war, it can threaten opposing team and increase the chances of winning which will increase status and make them more attractive to potential mates, thus in turn increasing reproductive success and likelihood of passing their genes on.

24 of 25

AO2/3 group displays

P; Research E; Chignon(1975)/Foldesi(1996) L;support H:much research to question


P; conflicting research E; football holligans L; n/a H; look at all explanations


P;determinism E; evolution L;n/a H; free will

25 of 25



What does P,E,L and H stand for 

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Aggression resources »