Group display of aggression

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  • Created by: KCharlish
  • Created on: 05-06-16 10:26

AO1 Xenophobia

Fear and hatred of strangers


  • claims that it has been documented in 'virtually every group of animals displaying higher forms of social organisation.'
  • Natural selection favours genes that are intolerant to outsiders


  • adaptive to exaggerate negative stereotypes of outsiders 
  • overperception of threat would be less costly than its underperception
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AO1 Territorality

Huntington and Turner

  • Territorial behaviour is common in non human animals
  • who show threat diaplays towards outsiders and attack with greater vigour when defending a home territory 

Human equivilant - displays in sports teams prior to a match

e.g. Samoan rugby teams manu siva tau war chants

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AO2 Hungarian football crowds


  • violent incidents based on racist or xenophobic attitudes
  • observed in all stadia
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IDA 'My friend is a foreigner'

Power of xenophobia to invoke violence

Motivated football clubs to take steps to minimise it's violence

Germany - all teams played in shirts displaying the slogan 'my friend is a foreigner' 

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AO2 Home advantage

Evidence for the support of territorial displays


  • among football fans crowd support was seen as the most significant factor contributing to a home advantage.
  • Home fans felt responsible for inspiring their team and distracting their opponants.

Pollard & Pollard

  • Crowd size may not be as important as the effect has been shown in smaller crowds

Function of crowd displays is unclear - psych up home team or distract opponants?

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AO1 Evolutionary explanations

Group displays evolved because of the adaptive benefits for the individual and their offspring

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AO1 Sexual selection

Traditional societies

  • men compete for mates

Divale and Harris 

  • it is those who do well in battle are rewarded with access to females


  • naturalistic observation - tribe in the amazon rainforest
  • displays of aggression are attractive to females 
  • male warriors tend to have more sexual partners - reproductive benefit
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AO2 Youth gang members

support for the sexual selection explanation

Palmer and Tilley

  • male youth gang members have more sexual partners than other males

supporting evidence that those who display more aggressive behaviour tend to have a greater reproductive success

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AO2 Explaining torture

limitations of the evolutionary explanations of warfare

Explanations of aggressive display based on mating success or status fail to explain the extreme cruelty found in many human conflicts but not in non human species

  • not understood why humans torture or mutilate their opponants when they no longer pose a threat

Evolutionary explanations cannot be applied to all human behaviours

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AO2 Gender bias

  • limited to the behaviour of males rather than females
  • women would have less to gain from fighting in near death situations 
  • more to lose in terms of their reproductive capacity

Theory is androcentric and lacking validity

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