Psychchology- Explanations of Aggression and Studies

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Explanations of Aggression and Studies

Biological: Charles Whitman and Young et al.

Clock tower, shot 12 people, last of a series of very aggressive attacks. Post-mortem showed tumour pressing on the limbic system: the part of the brain that causes aggressive behaviour.

Young et al. wanted to see the effect of testosterone on aggressive behavious. Pregnant Rhesus monkeys injected with testosterone and the offspring were observed. Female acted like male e.g. rough and tumble play and challenging males for dominance. Testosterone plays a vital part in aggressive behaviour.

Psychodynamic: Freud vs. Dollard et al. (and Baker)

Unconscious drive causes aggressive behaviour, caused by internal force, Thanatos. Thanatos drives us to self-destruction and all the time it is building up, pressure increases and eventually leads to an aggressive act due to the inability to control our Thanatos. Ego-defence mechanisms redirect our aggression outwardlyso rather than harming ourselves or others, we redirect our energy into something safe. The two ego-defence mechanisms Freud identified were:

Displacement:Being aggressive towards other people e.g. hitting someone.


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