Psychology: Aggression



  • Bandura says that people learn by observing others, the theory argues that we can learn behaviour, such as agression, by observation alone.
  • The behaviour we learn is more likely to be imitated if it is a role model we observe.
  • Role models are people whom we identify with or admire in some way. Therefore, aggression is more likely to be imitated if it is a role model, like a parent, who performs it.
  • Role models are usually either the same sex, or similar age to the observor, or are admired.
  • Consequences of the behaviour are also taken note by the observor. This is known as vicarious reinforcement. If agressive behaviour is seen to have positive consequences the observer is more likely to imitate the behaviour seen.
  • By observing aggression and its somtimes positive consequences, children learn that it is effective and appropriate and therefore worth repeating e.g if by being aggressive gets the person what they want, the observer is learning that agression pays off.
  • In order for SLT to happen, the individual must form mental representations of what is going on, so cognition plays a role in social learning, both in terms of mental representation and whether the individual chooses to repeat the behaviour.
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  • IDA: One debate that relates to SLT is the nature/nurture debate. The SLT takes a nurture view of aggression and suggests that aggression is learnt through observing and imitating role models. The impact of explaining aggression this way suggests that aggression can be learnt and essentially unlearnt. This means aggressive behaviour is not necessarily seen as fixed which means a much more positive view than the biological explanation.
  • Bandura et al: Children were divided into groups and matched according to their aggression levels, they are then placed in a room with an adult and toys. They see the adult either being aggressive to a bobo doll by hitting it, or being non-aggressive by ignoring it. The adult leaves, so the children can play. Those who saw the aggressive adult, hit the bobo doll far more than those who saw the non-aggressive adult.
  • This supports the study because it shows that the children imitated the behaviour, as they probably felt that the adult was a role model for them.
  • Bandura and Walters: Children were shown 3 films, one where the role model was rewarded for aggressive behaviour; another where they were punished for aggressive behaviour and one where there were no consequences for their behaviour. The children then got to play with the bobo doll. Group 1 were the most aggressive, then Group 3, then Group 2. Supports the theory as it shows that if people see aggressive behaviour being rewarded, they'll imitate it.
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  • Walters and Thomas: A replication of Milgram's study. Participants were shown one of two films - either a violent one or non-violent one. Participants who saw the violent film set higher shock levels. This supports the theory as it suggests that we learn by observiving others and change our behaviour in the hopes of positive reinforcement.
  • There is low internal validity as the increased aggression may not last long.
  • Low ecological validity because the experiment was done in lab conditions so there weren't any real life applications.
  • However, the research does seem to have high reliability as replications of studies got similar results, suggesting that the findings were accurate.
  • SLT can be criticised for being limited and oversimplified as it ignores a wealth of biological evidence which suggests aggression is due to genes and hormones. These pieces of evidence have good scientific validity and so should be taken into consideration when explaining the causes of aggression. It may be more plausible to take an approach which suggests that aggressive behaviour is due to both social and biological factors.
  • Parents often get the blame for children's aggression which is a problem, as this is socially sensitive because it could in fact be peers or media that are influencing children more. So parents could be getting the blame when they shouldn't be.
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Deindividuation: AO1

  • Deindividuation is a psychological state in which an individual loses their sense of identity when placed in a group situation.
  • Zimabardo suggested they act on primitive urges and don't conform to society's norms.
  • People lose their ability to self regulate when they're deindividuated which often means they became aggressive, but this does not always happen.
  • This happens due to anonymity in agroup due to darkness, uniform, having your face hidden or knowing few people in the group. This reduces the fear of negative evaluations of others and our sense of guilty. The greater the anonymity, the greater risk of deindividuation.
  • Prentice-Dunn and Rogers came up with a revised version of this that focuses on private self awareness. They said there is a difference between public and private self awareness.
  • Public self awareness is related to anonymity and is less important to deindividuation.
  • Private self awareness is more important - and is associated with increased anti social behaviour. When someone has private self awareness they are focused on themselves and act according to their own moral standards, but when they are submerged into a group they lose this focus and so become less privately self aware and more focused on external cues.
  • This external cues may be ones that provoke violence e.g. team losing a football maych, so the lack of private self awareness can increase the likelihood of aggression.
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Deindividuation: AO2

  • IDA: Thee may be ethical issues with carrying out research into deindividuation. This is because experimentally manipulating deindividuated behaviour would involve lowering the participants private self awareness which could result in the participants engaging in violence/aggression. It means that it may be difficult to study deindividuation scientifically, controlled conditions. This cold make it dificult to establish a cause and effect so we can't draw firm conclusions on whether deindividuation does influence aggression.
  • Zimbardo: Made half his participants (all female) anonymous by clothing them in oversized lab coats and hoods, while the others wore normal clothes and name tags. The participants had to shock people in a replication of Milgram's study. The anonymous participants shocked for longer than the control group. This supports the study because participants shocked for longer if they had become deindividuated by becoming anonymous.
  • Prentice-Dunn and Rogers: Participants were placed in a dimly lit room with loud music playing; verbal interaction were encouraged and the groups played exciting video games. In contrast, participants in another group were told not to interact, performed individual tasks and played non-arousing games in a well lit room. Results showed the first group showed higher levels of aggression. This supports the theory as the darkness creates anonymity which helps diminish the responsibility of the person, which leads to more aggression.
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Deindividuation: AO3

  • Watson: Investigated 23 different war orientated cultures. Those warriors who depersonalised themselves with face paints or masks were significantly more likely to kill, torture or mutilate captured enemies. This supports the theory as it shows that those who were deindividuated through hiding their face became more aggressive.
  • Overall, the research has high reliability as all studies found evidence of anonymity causing higher levels of aggression.
  • The theory is reductionist as it ignores the role of biology in aggression and just focuses on environmental factors, which is wrong because environment alone can not explain aggression, as not everyone who is anonymous in a group acts the same way - some are not aggressive.
  • This research has useful applications and could benifit certain places in society such as schools, the army and football crowds. It could help them to realise that by making these groups more anonymous e.g. uniforms, they might be making them more aggressive.
  • Watson's study has high ecological validity as they looked at real life expierences, whereas Zimbardo's study would have much lower ecological vadlity as it was done in lab conditions and does not have any real life applications, showing that the research in this area varies in its validity.
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Institutional - Power of Situation and Dehumanisin

  • Institutional aggression is defined as aggression that takes place as a result of being in an institutional setting e.g. prison, hospital, psychiatric institution.
  • Zimbardo states that the situation that people find themselves in exerts much influence on whether people are aggressive to others. For instance, people who are usually mild mannered may find themselves acting aggressively when put in certain situations e.g. prison. It is therefore the situation, not people's disposition that is the root cause of aggression. Institutional factors such as overcrowding; the level of security; lack of external constraints and peer pressure can increase people's willingness to cause harm.
  • He argues that individuals are more likely to be aggressive to others when they are labelled or dehumanised e.g a derogatory label they are more likely to be a target of aggression or is someone is known by a number rather than a name they are dehumanised.
  • IDA: A problem with this theory is environmental determinism. It suggests that people have no free will because they are so influenced by their situation and suggests that prisons are the thing that causes aggression. This can be an issue because it could take responsibilty away from people because they can argue that if situations change people's behaviour, then it isn't their fault if they become more aggressive.
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Institutional - Power of Situation and Dehumanisin

  • Zimbardo et al: Divided his participants into prisoners and guards, all of which had good mental health before the study began and had no anti-social behaviour prior. Prisoners were arrested and put in mock prison. They were all given smocks to wear and were referred to by numbers, not their names. The study was stopped after 6 days due to the extreme bahviours that occured. The guards became verbally aggressive towrds the prisoners and began to control the prisoner's behaviour such as when they could sleep, go to the toliet. The prisoners soon began to accept their roles. After the study the guards were surprised with how they acted by attributed their behaviour to the demands of the situation. This supports the theory because the guards showed institutional aggression, possibly because they had no constraints. None of the guards were aggressive before the study which suggests that it was the power of the situation that made them aggressive. The prisoners were dehumanised which changed their behaviour, which the theory suggested.
  • Bandura et al: Told his participants, who were students, that they would work with another school on a group task. I one group, the participants overheard an assistant refer to the other students as 'animals' and in the second condition referred to them as 'nice'. The students delieved higher shocks to those in the first condition. This supports the theory as it shows because the students were dehumanised, the students were more aggressive.
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Institutional - Power of Situation and Dehumanisin

  • Zimbardo's research would be high in validity as it is done in real life settings, which would mean that the findings are more likely to be accurate.
  • However, both studies were very unethical as the participants were harmed in these studies which is wrong as these things could have long lasting effects.
  • They may not have fully consented as it seems they did not fully understand what would happen in these studies.
  • Many of the guards later claimed they were just acting due to demand characteristics which would seriously lower the validity of the study.
  • This theory doesn't explain why riots suddenly occur from time to time without any situational factors changing, therefore there must be other reasons for institutional aggression e.g. dispositional factors and this may be a more plausible explanation for why aggression in institutional aggression occurs.
  • Some studies have suggested that increasing personal space had no effect on the levels of aggression in psychiatric institutions. Also, other empirical research conducted in prisoners does not seem to support the hypothesis that there is a direct correlation. This therefore lowers the validity of the theory and means that no firm conclusions regarding the cause of institutional aggression can be drawn without further research into the area.
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Institutional - Importation Model: AO1

  • This states that an individual's behaviour in prison is unfluenced by thei social histories and their traits - they import aggressive behaviour into the institution.
  • Cressey stated that it was wrong to look at inmate culture alone - researchers should examine how it is influenced by elements and expierences outside of prison.
  • For example, individuals may live in subcultures where aggression is valued, so they import it into prison as it is how they live.
  • Aggression is meant to be a product of an individual characteristics of the inmates.
  • IDA: A probelm with this theory is that it is socially sensitive. It suggests that prisoners are already aggressive when they go to prison and cannot be changed which could upset a lot of people and doesn't give any treatment to help them. It is not very useful as it gives no advice to help people change or to get better and would suggest that those people who are pre-diposed to aggression should just get put into isolation, so they don't influence others behaviour.
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Institutional - Importation Model: AO2

  • Poole and Regoli: Researched 4 different types of juvenile institutions and found that pre-institutional violence was the best predictor for inmate aggression, regardless of the specific features of the institution. This supports the theory as it shows those who are already aggressive are most likely to be aggressive in institutions, which the theory expected.
  • Irwin and Creseey: Looked into many prisons - they are argued that many of the inmates behaviours are due to the cultural and personal characteristics brought in by the prisoners on arrival. The researchers suggest that younger inmates are more likely to be aggressive. They suggest that people from improverished backgrounds will be more aggressive and that people from different ethnic backgrounds will display differing degrees of aggression, but this may be due to being from different socio-economic backgrounds. This supports the theory as it shows that inmates who were aggressive beforehand are more likely to be aggressive in institutions.
  • Keller and Wang: Reported that prison violence occurs in prisons which hold the most troublesome inmates. Facilities which held manximum security inmates had haigher levels of assault on staff bu inmates than those in lower security facilities. This supports the theory as those in maximum security prisons will be more likely to be aggressive than thosein low security before they went into institutions.
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Institutional - Importation Model: AO3

  • All the research comes from real life settings which means that the research will be very high in ecological validity as their will be real life applications and the researchers will not be able to influence the study much, so their bias won't be such a problem.
  • It claims that those in gangs prior to institutions will be more aggressive. However, De Lisi et al found no evidence that gang membership prior to prison had any bearing on violence in prison, this decreases the amountof validity.
  • Praised for providing a more complex account as to why aggression occurs within institutions. It does not assume that all inmates will be influenced in the same way but instead acknowledges factors such as age, culture and membership to sub cultures. This therefore means that it accounts for individual differences and is likely to be accepted as a plausible explanation for aggression in institutions.
  • Has some practical value, for example, if it is an underlying cause such as alcohol dependency that cause the levels of aggression in prison then these issues can be dealt with on an individual basis. However, some psychologists argue that this is not a cost effective or efficient way of dealing with aggression in institutions and that there are factors within the prison itself which can be adjusted to have more impact.
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Neural Mechanisms: AO1

  • Neural mechanisms refer to the role of neurotransmitters e.g. serotonin.
  • Psychologists have suggested low levels of serotonin in the brain can be linked with impulsive aggression - which is the tendency to respond with hostility or aggression when faced with serious frustration.
  • Normal levels of serotonin will have a calm, inhibitory effect on an individual.
  • Low levels of sereotonin mean this inhibitory effect is gone. Therefore, people will be less able to control impulsive and aggressive tendencies.
  • Under normal circumstances, serotonin works in the frontal areas of the brain to inhibit the firing of the amygdala - which is the almond shaped structure that controls fear, anger etc.
  • If there is less serotonin in the prefrontal cortext --> there will be bless inhibition of the amygdala --> so the amygdala will not be under control.
  • When the amygdala is stimulated by outside novel and potentially threatening events, it will become more active, driving the person to act on their impulses.
  • Individuals hve different levels of serotonin on a day to day, hour by hour basis. However, there may also be people whom, for whatever reason, have lower levels of serotonin all the time.
  • This theory would state that such individuals are predisposed to aggression.
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Neural Mechanisms: AO2

  • IDA: This theory is deterministic. According to this theory, impulsive, aggressive responses are determined by the level of neurotransmitters. This removes moral responsibility, suggesting that individuals behave the way they do because of their body chemistry and so cannot be blamed for their actions, and fails to take into account that everyone has some extent of choice over their behaviour.
  • Crockett et al: Looked at 20 participants who were fasted and given a protein drink the morning before the study. The difference in groups was, one drink contained tryptophan which the body needs to make serotonin and the other drink didn't contain this. The participants played a game where one player poses a way to split money with a partner. In the condition where they didn't have tryptophan they showed increased aggression towards offers they percieved as unfair. This supports thetheory because it shows if you have lower levels or serotonin, you are more likely to be aggressive, just like the theory stated.
  • Davidson et al: Found that when comparing violent criminals to non-violent criminals, the levels of serotonin found in violent criminals were markedly lower.
  • Virkunen et al: Had also discovered that people with a history of criminal behaviour had low levels of serotonin. This supports the theory because it suggests lower levels of serotonin make you more aggressive as violent criminals had low levels of serotonin.
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Neural Mechanisms: AO3

  • Some critics have agrued that it is very difficult to isolate presice areas of the brain and theories that do this tend to oversimplify the complex interconectedness of the brain. Similarly, they argue that neurotransmitters alone cannot account for aggressive behaviour as they are part of a wider network. It is widely accepted that there are actually a lot more processes involved in aggression than just the amygdala or serotonin.
  • If aggressive behaviour is a product of imbalanced neurotransmitter levels then it should be possible to treat aggression by administering serotonin increasing drugs. This strategy has been successfully used in aggressive patients suffering from dementia. It could also mean that people who are aggressive could simply change their diet to increase serotonin levels by eating certain food like nuts or chocolate to help lessen their aggression. Therefore the research into neural mechanisms involved in aggression has significant practical applications.
  • The theory mostly ignores the role of environment because depending on how you were brought up could make a big impact on how aggressive you are.
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Hormonal Mechanisms: AO1

  • Testosterone is a hormone. It is present in both men and women, although men have eight times as much as women.
  • Testosterone's links to aggression is less clear, and more controversial than the others.
  • Early theories stated that high testosterone causes aggression, whether permanently or temporarily, people with higher levels will be more aggressive.
  • More recently, high testosterone has been linked to the need for dominance rather than aggression e.g. successful businessmen and athletes have higher testosterone than their less successful counterparts, they are not necessarily more aggressive, but simply more dominant.
  • There may be more of a link when an individual has high testosterone but low serotonin. The high testosterone makes them seek dominance and they are therefore put in situations where frustration and dominance may occur. If frustrated, the low levels of serotonin in the prefrontal cortex mean that the impulsive behaviour caused by the amygdala is not under control, with aggression as the result.
  • According to the mismatch effect, testosterone only becomes important when there is a mismatch between the level of testosterone in the body and the status of the individual.
  • If an individual has high status and high testosterone, no aggression will result, but high tesosterone and low status, or low testosterone and high status, will result in aggression.
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Hormonal Mechanisms: AO2

  • IDA: The theory could be considered socially sensitive. This is because it may lead to recommendations on how to treat aggressive individuals with high testosterone. The problem is that these clinical interventions may have negative outcomes. This could lead to a call for violent criminals to be chemically castrated against their will which some would consider is a violation of their human rights.
  • Kreuz and Rose: Looked at 21 male prisoners. Their testosterone levels didn't relate to whether they fought in prison, but it did relate to the nature of the crimes they committed. The 10 prisoners with the most violent crimes such as assault and armed robbery did have higher levels of testosterone. This supports the theory because it found the more violent criminals had higher levels of testosterone which the theory suggests would be true. However, it doesn't explain why they weren't more aggressive in prison.
  • Josephs et al: Found that men ad women high in testosterone levels reacted negatively after a loss of high status, becoming stressed, confused and anxious which is a state of mind that could lead to aggression. However, men and women with low levels of testosterone who were put in positions of high status showed that they were upset which could lead to aggression. This supports the theory because it found those with high testosterone grew aggressive when they lost status, and those with low testosterone grew aggressive when given high status.
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Hormonal Mechanisms: AO3

  • There is some support but its not strong enough to paint a clear picture on aggression.
  • Joesphs study lacks internal validity because there is no evidence that shows that the behaviours lead to aggression.
  • The theory could be biologically determinist. This is because it shifts the blame from the individual to their biology and makes them less likely to accept responsibility. This could be a problem because the individual may carry on with their behaviour because they believe its beyond their control.
  • A majority of research into testosterone is correlational which means that no cause and effect can be established. For example, we cannot be sure whether testerone causes aggression or aggression causes high levels of testosterone because there could be other factors which influence aggression, such as the environment. Not possible to make firm cause and effect conclusions.
  • Criticised for oversimplifying the complex emotional response of aggression. They do not take into account any other factors that may cause an individual to behave in an aggresive way, such as their environment or their thought processes. Many experts now acknowledge that aggressive behaviour is actually a complex interaction between both biological and environmental factors.
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Genetics: AO1

  • General link between genes and aggression: Says that aggression is inherited; aggressive people inherit genes that lead them to be aggressive. The closer the relationship to the aggressive person, the stronger will be the inherited tendency.
  • For instance, if the father has aggressive genes, more often the son will show more aggression than the grandson. The more forebears you have who are aggressive for genetic reasons, the more likely you are to have inherited genes for aggression.
  • The role of a specific gene defect: A so called 'warrior gene' has been linked to brain chemistry and increased aggression; in some cases, people inherit a genetic mutation that causes a deficiency in a monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) - so they inherit the 'warrior gene'. MAO-A is an enzyme that causes the breakdown of excess monoamine neurotransmitters in the brain, such as noredrenaline and dopamine.
  • The warrior gene is found on the X chromosome, which is why the gene is more prevalent in mn; women are protected from the faulty gene by their other X chromosome. The warrior gene is smiply a shorter, less active version of gene allele (an alternative form of a gene caused by a mutation) on the X chromosome known as the MAO-A gene. If people inherit the warrior gene they will have an excess amount of some neurotransmitters in the brain because not enough MAO-A has been released. This predisposes the individual to aggression when under stress.
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Genetics: AO2

  • IDA: This study has biological determinism. It shifts the blame of aggression from the individual solely onto their genetics, meaning they don't have to take responsibility for their actions. It suggests that they have no free will, which is not true. It means that people can get away with things that they shouldn't and don't take responsibility for their actions.
  • McGuffin and Gottesman: Looked at the concordance rates for aggressive and anti-social behaviour in MZ and DZ twins. They found it was 87% for MZ twins and 72% for DZ twins.
  • Hutchings and Mednick: Found a significant correlation between the criminal convictions of biological fathers and the number of criminal convictions of their sons who had been adopted into other families. This suggests there is a genetic factor in aggressive behaviour, and that it is not simply the process of being adopted that causes aggressive behaviours because the correlation between adopted parents and adopted children was not significant.
  • Vishnivestskaya et al: Studied mice that lacked an MAO-A gene and compared them to a control group of mice who had the gene. They showed increased aggression towards intruder mice and incrreased territorial and predatory aggression. However, the mice didn't show an increase in all types of aggression as they were not more aggressive to anesthetized or juvenile mice. This supports the theory because the mice with the gne were more aggressive mainly, however its only partial support as they weren't aggressive in all situations.
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Genetics: AO3

  • While there is clearly a link with genetic factors to some degree, there are lots of other factors that could influence aggression such environmental factors.
  • Criticised for determinism because it ignores the role of free will in aggression, therefore suggesting we have no control over our actions. This is controversial because criminals could use this as a defence in court in order to try and reduce their sentences and to avoid the responsibility of a crime. It is also extremely difficult to prove that a persons aggression is completely determined by their genes.
  • It could have useful applications as people who find out they have the warrior gene could realise they have a predisposition to aggression and try to get some help because of this.
  • Absolute genetic explanations have been criticised for oversimplifying the cause of aggression, this is because they reduce the complex behaviour that is human aggression down to one gene e.g. MAOA. Many pschologists would argue that there is strong evidence for aggression being caused by an interaction of both external and internal factors and to suggest it is only caused by one gene is reductionist.
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Evolutionary: Infedelity and Jealousy - AO1

  • Infidelity can be defined as unfaithfulness to a sexual partner.
  • Infidelity in males increases the chance of successful reproduction. A woman increases her chances of being provided with resources.
  • Males have more to gain so that they can spread their genes out more widely, so we would expect more men to show infidelity than women.
  • Sexual jealousy is a state of fear caused by a real or imagined threat to someone's status as an exclusive sexual partner. Men should show greater sexual jealousy because men have more to lose than women do, because they can't be sure that the women's child is their own.
  • Sexual jealousy is an adaptive response leading to a number of mate retention behaviours.
  • That is when a partner tries to keep an eye on their partner all the time, to make sure they aren't being cheated on. Techniques such as threatening violence to potential rivals which could als lead to aggression.
  • Retaining a mate is of great importance to a male as, without a mate to bear and raise his children the chances of his genes getting passed on are reduced.
  • Emotional jealousy is about emotional intimacy with another person. Women are more likely to show this as it represents the threat of abandonment which could lead to aggression.
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Evolutionary: Infidelity and Jealousy - AO2

  • IDA: The theory is reductionist as it only explains aggression through evolutionary terms. This is a problem as it is not taking into account other possible influences of behaviour. While the evolutionary approach may seem a logical explanation for some sexual jealousy behaviours, some are not adequately explained by the evolutionary theory. For example, killing your partner or children wouldn't make good evolutionary sense. It is also difficult to justify the aggression we witness in society.
  • Buss: Looked at 37 cultures and found that makes valued chasisty (not having sex with anyone else) and faithfulness, whilst women were valed faithfulness more. Females found emotional infidelity more distressing than sexual infidelity, whilst it was the other way round for males. This supports the theory because it shows women find emotional infidelity more distressing, whereas for males its sexual infidelity which the theory suggested would happen.
  • Day and Wilson: Looked at 80 murders were the victim and murderer were living together or married. 44 of the victims were husbunds and 36 were wives. 29% of these conflicts were deemd to have arisen out of sexual jealousy. Most of the conflicts started by the make and the woman killed in self defence, 15 husbunds and 5 wives were convicted of murder. This supports the theoy because it shows males have shown sexual jealouy as 15 husbunds were convicted, compated to 5 wives, who had killed in self defence.
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Evolutionary: Infidelity and Jealousy - AO3

  • Miller: Studied 44 female victims of domestic violence. The found 55% of the women stated jealousy as the reason for their partners violence. 25% of the women stated their infidelity was the reason for aggression. Some women said their husbunds disliked them going out with friends and they weren't allowed to go shopping without them.
  • The first study showed no links to aggression and there is no clear link in the other studies.
  • All these studies show is that males act aggressively when feeling sexually jealous, but there is no link to evolution, as we can't know for sure if this happened in the past.
  • This theory explains aggression as being an inevitable result of survival instincts, however critics argue that individuals do have control over their behaviour and that people must take responsibility for their actions. (Reduces free will) This raises concerns as it takes the blame away from the individual committing the aggressive act and could potentially be used as a defence in court. This theory is therefore seen as deterministic.
  • This theory could have useful applications as people could be told about this and it might make them more aware of their aggressive behaviour, so they can stop it. They could get cognitive therapy if they believe they are more vulnerable.
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Evolutionary: Group Display - AO1

  • Group display is when a group of people act in a certain way in public, using bodily gestures and sound to intimidate or communicate.
  • War is the formation of groups to attack others within the same species. At its most exteme, group display can mean war.
  • While aggressive display can cost a person their life, by joining a group and taking part in a war there is a greater chance of survival compared to the individual acting alone.
  • Groups are more powerful and afford more protection hence war is adaptive.
  • Success in war can give better access to resources higher status and ultimately a greater chance of reproducing.
  • **** as a weapon of war can be accounted for by the evolutionary approach to war: the threat of **** makes people flee their territory, and **** itself may result in the victim becoming pregnant, so the aggressors genes are continuing.
  • Since those who win wars are the most aggressive, these are the people who have passed on their genes, leading to a species who had aggression selected into their behaviour.
  • Two traits that have evolved in humans that determine the likelihood that war will take place are belligerence and bravery. In modern society, tribal warfare has been replaced by sporting events in which different teams represent their tribes.
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Evolutionary: Group Display - AO2

  • IDA: This theory is deterministic as it suggests that people's behaviour has been pre-determined. This would be a problem as it leads people to believe that those with these genes don't have free will and could take away responsibility for their actions. This could be very bad because people need to be held responsible for their aggression, as otherwise they will feel as they won't get punished and will carry on with their behaviour.
  • Chagnon: States that there was constant fighting between the branches of the Yanomamo peopled in the Amazon concerning access to women or raising the status of one group over another. Successful warriors had more wives and more children. This supports the theory because it shows the aggressive warriors had more access to women and a higher status, which the theory suggests would happen.
  • Systematic ****: Often occurs in war. In the Bosnian war over 20,000 Muslim women and girls were ****d by Serbians. One aim of this was that the women would be terrorised so they would flee and it would also ensure that the children had serbian blood. It supports the theory because it shows the Serbians acted aggressively to ensure they could reproduce Serbian blood, which the theory suggested.
  • War occurs in many socities and many pre-industrialised societies. It also occurs in intelligent social species, such as chimpanzees and dolphins.
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Evolutionary: Group Display - AO3

  • Not based on scientific evidence, this theory is based on the idea that aggressive behaviours have been developed for survival and passed on through generations and so it cannot be objectively tested or measure. This therefore means that it also lacks predictive validity as it cannot be accurately predictive which groups will become aggressive or when.
  • Could be beneficial to society in terms of reducing aggression at sporting events. If physically aggressive rituals at sports events such as aggressive chanting were curtailed then according to Marsh the levels of physical violence would increase and individuals may end up causing physical injury to themselves and/or others.
  • The theory itself is unfalsifable. This is because it is impossible to go back in time and test whether evolution played a part in group display. The research evidence does not provide strong enough support for the theory.
  • War is an excuse for violence - we're not victims of evolution, we don't have to give into urges.
  • Research is socially sensitive because it discourages people from trying to change their behaviour because they feel they have no free will.
  • It is almost excusing **** as a way of passing on another's genes and it being natural, which is very wrong.
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