Psychology A2 Aggression EVERYTHING

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  • Created by: Amber
  • Created on: 21-05-14 16:24




• Social learning theory – aggressive behaviour is learned through direct experience or by vicarious experience. Mostly Bandura.

• Deindividuation – “a process whereby people lose their sense of socialised individual identity and engage in unsocialised, often anti-social behaviour” (Hogg and Vaughan, 2008). Mostly Zimbardo.



• An example of people learning aggression through vicarious reinforcement (operant condition/direct reinforcement) could be when a child pushes another child and as a result gets something they want. The action is reinforced and is more likely to occur in similar situations in the future.

• People learn aggression through a role model reinforcement experience (imitation of a model/indirect reinforcement) by observing it around them – particularly from significant others.



J Explain inconsistencies

Explains why people act differently in other situations. Whilst someone may be aggressive home they may also be meek and shy at work. This shows how they have learnt how to act differently in the two different situations.

J Treatment programmes

Useful in influencing treatment. If someone has learnt their aggressive behaviour it is possible to unlearn it.

J Individual differences

SLT can explain why some people are aggressive and why some people aren’t.

J Bandura

Supports the idea of SLT with his research. Three groups of children watched a film where an adult kicked a bobo doll whilst saying aggressive comments. For one group the film ended here, for another the film continued to see the adult rewarded whilst the last group saw the adult punished.  The children were then observed playing with the bobo doll. Condition 1 and 2 children showed aggressive acts. Children in condition 2 behaved most aggressively.

L Social learning Vs. Biology

Biology explains aggression to be caused by neurotransmitters, genes and hormones. However, SLT theory points towards cultures that have no aggression within it.



Losing sense of individual identity leads to deindividuation. Individuals are seen as normally refraining from aggressive acts because they are identifiable. However, in situations such as crowds, personal responsibility is less perceived and aggressive behaviour occurs. Deindividuation causes people to follow group norms instead of personal norms and this sometimes leads to aggression. Zimbardo – anonymity. Prentice Dunn & Rogers – Public self awareness/private self awareness and morals.

For example the 2011 London Riots. 



• Zimbardo (1969): participants were rendered anonymous by being put in oversized white coats and hoods; whilst a control group wore normal clothes and carried large name tags. Participants task was to give an electric shock to a confederate in a similar task as the Milgram study.  Zimbardo found anonymous participants gave longer shocks than identifiable participants.

• Prentice Dunn and Rogers (1982): tried to make participants focus their attention outwards. They did this by having two conditions, one condition was in a dark room with loud rock music and and exciting video games. The other condition were in a


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