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Aggression Hurting Others. I. What is Aggression? I. What is Aggression? Physical or verbal behavior intended to hurt another individual. Must be intentional!!!!

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Presentation on theme: "Aggression Hurting Others. I. What is Aggression? I. What is Aggression? Physical or verbal behavior intended to hurt another individual. Must be intentional!!!!"— Presentation transcript:

1 Aggression Hurting Others

2 I. What is Aggression? I. What is Aggression? Physical or verbal behavior intended to hurt another individual. Must be intentional!!!!

3 II. Types of Aggression: 1. Hostile aggression-aggression driven by anger & performed as an end in itself (affective aggression). Goal---to harm another for the sake of getting even with them. Characterized by displays of rage (screaming, shouting, crimes of passion)

4 2. Instrumental aggression-serves as a means to an end. Goal here—aggression is carried out to solve a problem. This is cool, detached, & often premediated. E.g., military, mafia

5 Most murders are hostile aggression. 50% erupt from arguments while others result from romantic triangles or brawls, while under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. Such murders are impulsive, emotional, & volatile outbursts.

6 III. Theories of Aggression: 1. Aggression is biological – we are aggressive due to physiological instincts or drives. A. Instinct theory– aggression is innate. Anger builds up until we explode when appropriate stimulus signals its release.

7 Problems with instinct theory: Instinct theory fails to account for variations in aggressiveness across individuals & cultures. E.g., How does instinct theory account for peaceful Iroquois before white invaders & aggressive Iroquois afterwards.

8 B. Evolutionary theory: aggression may be adaptive. Aggression enables us to obtain resources, defend against attack, eliminate competition for mates, & to enforce sexual fidelity from mates.

9 C. Neural influences on aggression Stimulating the amygdala in cats causes a fearful or anger response to occur (piloerection). A woman receiving painless stimulation to her amygdala became enraged and smashed her guitar against the wall.

10 Are violent people’s brains different from normal people? Yes!!! Raine et al., (2000) found that the prefrontal cortex (which inhibits aggressive behavior), was 14% less active than normal in non-abused murderers &15% smaller in antisocial males. This does not mean brain anomaly caused violent behavior (could be the other way around), but could be a factor.

11 Is aggression genetic? Possibly. We can breed animals for aggressiveness (pit bulls, roosters). Our temperment in infancy predicts whether we will be aggressive in adulthood (Larsen & Deiner, 1987). Twin studies support this.

12 Alcohol Individuals prone to violence are more likely to drink & become violent while drunk. 4 in 10 violent crimes committed by people who’ve been drinking. Surveys of rapists--over half report they were drinking before committing the rape. Alcohol – reduces self-awareness & disinhibits (deindividuates).

13 Hormones Lowering testosterone levels reduces aggressiveness, while raising it, increases aggression (“Roid rage.”) Prisoners who had committed unprovoked violent crimes had higher levels of testosterone than those who had committed nonviolent crimes. Teens with higher levels of testosterone were more prone to delinquency, hard drug use, & provocations.

14 serotonin Lower levels of serotonin are found in kids & adults prone to violence. Lowering serotonin levels in the lab increases their response to aversive events and willingness to deliver supposed electric shocks.

15 2. Frustration-Aggression theory: Argues that aggression occurs when we desire obtaining a goal, expect to be gratified, & then are blocked from doing so. Violent behavior erupts from this frustration. Often is directed to a target other than source of aggression (displacement). Its not acceptable to yell at the boss, so we kick the dog, yell at spouse, etc.

16 Is this theory valid? Data on theory are mixed (sometimes frustration increased aggressiveness, sometimes not). If frustration is justifiable, but situation is such that person didn’t intentionally cause it (car broken down on road), then it doesn’t lead to aggression.

17 New definition of Frustration- Aggression theory Berkowitz (1978; 1989) theorized that frustration produces anger, an emotional readiness to aggress. We become angry when someone frustrates us who could have chosen to not to. Aggression is likely when our bottled-up anger is released (often, but not always to a cue).

18 Is frustration—equivalent with deprivation? No!!! You can have frustration without deprivation.

19 Does deprivation lead to frustration & aggression? No!!! People who are sexually frustrated may not be sexually deprived or celibate. People who have good jobs with good pay may be frustrated with other areas of life. Violent crime was not high during the Great Depression when everyone was deprived. Frustration seems to be linked to high expectations that are not always met.

20 3. Is Aggression learned? Yes!!!--conditioning & modeling. We learn rewards of aggression: ----we can intimidate others with force -----may help us achieve goals

21 Are people rewarded for acting aggressively? Does this promote aggression? Yes!!!!! Bandura’s Bobo doll studies show this. Bandura had children watch whether an adult hitting & kicking a bobo doll was either punished or not for his actions. Children were then led individually into a room with toys & a bobo doll.

22 Bandura Bobo-doll study Children who saw the adult receiving punishment for hitting the Bobo doll were less likely to hit the Bobo doll themselves. The opposite was found for children seeing the adult go unpunished for his actions.

23 IV. Influences on Aggression 1. Aversive incidents—those causing us pain often lead to aggression. A. Pain– causing pain in others often leads to aggression. Presenting shock & other forms of pain causes animals to attack one another. Humans will do this to.

24 B. Heat Changes in climate (heat) may lead to aggressive & hostile behavior. Ss asked to fill out questionnaires in a hot room (over 90 degrees F) reported feeling, aggressive, & expressed more hostility towards a stranger than a person filling out a questionnaire in a comfortable room.

25 Does heat in the real world promote aggression? Yes!!! In places where it is hotter (Southern states, California) & during hotter seasons & days there are more violent crimes.

26 C. Attacks We often become aggressive, when attacked by others. At our core we act in an “eye for an eye” manner.

27 D. Crowding Being cramped in small places causes many to experience agitation & aggressiveness. Evidence: More urban areas with denser populations have higher crime rates.

28 Do arousing events stimulate anger? Yes!! Schacter & Singer’s study

29 V. Aggression Cues Berkowitz argues the mere “sight” of a weapon (gun) promotes aggression. In one experiment, children who had just played with toy guns became more willing to knock down another child’s block. Ss presented their “tormentor” with more electric shocks when a rifle & revolver were left behind nearby than when badminton racquets had been left behind.

30 VI. Media Influences: Pornography and Sexual Violence Does pornography promote sexual violence? Possibly!!! Malamuth & Check (1981) showed male Ss either 2 nonsexual movies or 2 movies depicting a man sexually overcoming a woman. A week later, those Ss who saw the violent film, were more accepting of violence towards women.

31 Do slasher films have the same effect? Yes!!!!! Men shown slasher flicks (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) appear to become desensitized to brutality & are less empathetic towards rape victims.

32 Does exposure to violent pornography cause increases in punitive behavior towards women? Yes!!!! Donnerstein (1980) had 120 college males view a neutral, an erotic, or an aggressive-erotic (rape) film. Then, the Ss had to “teach” a male or female confederate some nonsense syllables by choosing how much shock to administer for incorrect responses. Males viewing rape file delivered stronger shocks to the female confederate.

33 Factors that predict increased aggression: Factors that predict increased aggression: 1. male actors 2. aggressive or Type A personalities 3. alcohol use 4. watching violence (movies/TV) 5. anonymity 6. provocation 7. the presence of weapons 8. group interaction

34 Do we release anger & aggression but venting? No!!! Expressing aggression breeds further hostility & aggression.

35 We can reduce or minimize aggression by several methods: 1. Reducing aversive experiences: We should reward cooperative nonaggressive behavior in ourselves and others. Children are less aggressive if their nonaggressive behavior is reinforced with positive rewards. 2. Aggressive stimuli trigger aggression: remove weapons, especially guns from the home.


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