The role of the brain and aggression
There are two areas of the brain that are involved in aggression:
- the limbic system
- the amygdala
The limbic system is in the middle of the brain. It is called the emotional area of the brain because it is responsible for emotions such as fear and aggression.
The amygdala is a structure in the brain that recognises emotion. The amygdala also creates emotional responses. It is also responsible for producing aggression. In animal studies if the maygdala is removed then the animal becomes very calm and does not respond the threatening situations.
Human case studies also offer evidence. Charles Whitman (who killed 13 people) was found to have a tumour pressing in his amygdala
Evaluating the role of the brain and aggression
- Animal studies that have involved damage of the removal of the amygdala offer evidence for its link to aggression
- The case study of Charles WHitman provides evidence for its link to aggression in humans
- Studying the human brain is very difficult and very risky so there is no wy of making sure that the brain is linked to aggression.
- Animals and humans are very different so animal research suggesting a link to aggression may not be applicable to humans.
The role of hormones and aggression
- Injecting animals with testosterone or removing the testes has led to increased or decreased levels of aggression.
- This is strong evidence that testosterone is responsible for aggression
- Although, agression in humans is less distinctive than aggression in animals so this may affect the link.
- Psychologists can take blood drom humans to see what testosterone levels they have and then compare this with their levels of aggeression
- Some correlation studies have found a high link
- However it is not certain whether testosterone causes aggression.
Evaluating the role of hormones and aggression
- In animals, there is a clear cause and effect relationship between testosterone and aggression
- Humans show a relationship between aggression and testosterone in correlation studies.
- Women have be just, or even more, aggressive than men can
- Not all humans with high testosterone levels are aggressive
Social learning theory and aggression
Children learn through watching other people. Modelling is tge act of copying an iobserved behaviour. Observational learning can take place without modelling. It involves four steps:
- Attention: paying attention to the person being observed
- Memory: being able to remeber the action
- Reproduction: being able to act out what we see
- Motivation: the incentive to do the action
Role models: The person we observe and learn from is a role model. We are more likely to copy the behaviour of our role model
Identification: This is when we adopt the behaviours of a role model: we identify ourselves with other who we want to be like
Vicarious learning: We are more likely to copy someones behaviour is theree will be a reward in it for us
Evaluating the social learning theory
- Bandura's study supports this theory and the findings
- Many tragedies have been linked to TV and video game violence
- Many children watch violence but not all children copy it
- It could be that aggressive children watch the aggressive media but are not effected by it. They could be naturally aggressive
What does an educational psychologist do?
- Planning interventions
- Individual assessments
- empathetic listening
- communication skills
- A degree in psychology recognised by BPS
- Experinece in education
- A three year doctrate in educational psychology
The 9 o'clock watershed is designed to protect children from viewing unsuitable material.
- Censorship protects children from viewing acts that they are not ready for
- Studies show that the vast majority of people are in favour of the watershed to protect children
- It restricts peoples freedom to choose what they want to watch
- It restricts freedom of speech
- It is seen as a way to control a country in some societies.