Comparing theories of aggression


The biological approach sees aggression as something that comes from within us, whereas the social learning theory believes that aggression is copied from others external to ourselves.

The focus of the social learning theory is on how we 'learn' aggression rather than whether we have the tendency to be aggressive because of the way our brain functions. Social learning theory argues that we are likely to be motivated to copy aggression through vicarious reinforcement, whereas the biological approach emphasises amygdala damage or testosterone imbalance.

It is difficult to decide which theory to side with, because both are difficult to study. Observational learning may not lead to modelling or it might be modelled at a later date, so we cannot be certain that the observed behaviour has been learnt. Similarly, studies of the brain and hormones are difficult or unethical, and we have no direct evidence…


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