Outline the role of Genetic Factors in Aggressive Behaviour

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: EClou
  • Created on: 30-03-16 17:30

AO1 - Genetic Factors in Aggression

Genetic Factors:

  • biological approach from observing kids w/ agg. parents generally engage in more agg. beh. that those w/ non-agg/ parents
  • genetic abnormalites cause agg as genes dictate brain growth/development/function/NA levels - and these are inherited which is why parents and children have similar agg levels
  • e.g.s of these abnormalities: 47XYY Karyotype  -men have extra Y  chromosome - Court-Brown suggested lower IQ/v. tall/acne due to defect --> agg beh - suggested ppl w/ 47XYY should be hospitalised due to incr likelihood of agg beh
  • other e.g. = MAOA (enzyme) gene that regulates SN levels in brain - defect causing low levels of MAOA linked to agg.
1 of 3

AO2 - Genetic Factors in Aggression

Adoption/Gene/Animal studies:

  • ++Hutchings + Medneck: - studies 14,000 Danish adoptions - large no. of boys w/ criminal convictions had biological parents w/ criminal convictions - evidence for genetic factors as even when removed from biological parents = still agg. = genetic - nature not nurture - BUT - beta bias/large sample/cant assume - only correlat. = no causality
  • ++Caspi et al - study on 500 male kids - isolated MAOA gene variant for high and low levels of MAOA - kids w/ low levels = more likely to show agg beh as adults if maltreated -shows that low levels of MAOA can be linked to agg and may can lead to it BUT - only a correlation/unethical - mistreated/shows interaction betw. genes + env = diathesis stress model - genes alone cant explain it 
  • ++Young et al - identified mutation "fierce" in mice that caused agg beh towards other mice -  shows that across species there are genetic causes of agg. + therefore gives further support to theory BUT this cannot be extrapolated onto humans as we have v different physiology/unethical
  • -- Court-Brown: 330 hosp. patients. XYY men = more agg. BUT Modern studies dont find same results - CB's findings due to experimenter effects
2 of 3

AO3 - Genetic Factors in Aggression

  • Deterministic - doesnt allow for cognitive processes/free will in chooosing whether or not to be aggressive - weakness as it doesnt explain situtations where people choose not to be aggressive e.g. a boy sees his aggressive father beating his mother and grows up choosing to be v non-aggressive even though he has inherited aggressive genes from his father
  • Unethical - adoption studies are socially sensitive - as are studies to do with maltreatment of children - cannot obtain IC from animals- they cannot object to this treatment. 
  • Reductionist - ignores any social/behavioural explanatiobs for aggression and the effect of social pressures (e.g. peer pressure in violent gangs) on how people to respond to things. - Caspi suggested there are many genes that contribute to each beh. and that environmental factors influence people's beh alongside genes - therefore genetics alone cannot explain agg beh.
3 of 3


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Aggression resources »