Einstein – is there any way of delivering mankind from the menace of war?
Aggression Intentional behavior aimed at doing harm or causing pain to another person.
For centuries, scientists, philosophers, and other serious thinkers have been arguing about the human capacity for aggression. Some are convinced that aggression is an inborn, instinctive human trait. Others are just as certain that aggressive behavior must be learned.
Carl Jung – the shadow (dark) side Dark side – unacceptable to one’s consciousness
Freud – a direct link between aggression (a behavior of individuals) and the social phenomena called war
Chimpanzees are the only nonhuman species in which groups of male members hunt and kill other members of their own kind. Bonobos, on the other hand, are known as the “make love, not war” ape. Prior to engaging in activities that could otherwise lead to conflict, bonobos engage in sex. This sexual activity functions to diffuse potential conflict. The bonobo are a rare exception, however. The near universality of aggression strongly suggests that aggressiveness has evolved and has been maintained because it has survival value.
Aggressive behaviors in human beings, as well as in the lower animals, are associated with an area in the core of the brain called the amygdale. When the amygdale is stimulated, docile organisms become violent. Similarly, when neural activity in that area is blocked, violent organisms become docile.
Social Learning Theory The idea that we learn social behavior (e.g., aggression) by observing others and imitating them.
When a nation is at war, its people are more likely to commit aggressive acts against one another. Being at war serves to legitimize violence as a way to address difficult problems.
Elicited by: A social group with which one identifies self as being threatened by some outside danger; The presence of a hated enemy from whom the threat to one’s values originates; An inspiring leader figure The presence of many other individuals all agitated by the same emotion
The fact that a nation is at war: (1) Weakens the population’s inhibitions against aggression, (2) Leads to imitation of aggression, (3) Makes aggressive responses more acceptable, and (4) Numbs our senses to the horror of cruelty and destruction, making us less sympathetic toward the victims.
Would humans kill if they experienced the full emotional realization of what they were doing?
Stanley Milgram studies – Obedience to authority… 40 male subjects, variety of backgrounds Told experiment was to study effects of punishment on learning/memory learn word pairs Teacher (subject) is to increasingly shock learner for wrong answers 15 volts (“slight shock”) – 450 volts (“XXX”) Learner (confederate) is strapped into chair, electrodes attached to arms Not actually being shocked, but teachers don’t know this – pain sounds prerecorded When teacher would question continuing, experimenter told him he must continue
If people are “naturally” inclined to be peaceful, why are there so many wars? If people are “naturally” inclined to be warlike, is the hope for peace unrealistic and doomed to failure?