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					 Aggression, Altruism,
and Moral Development
       Chapter 14
   Instrumental aggression: major goal is to
    gain access to objects, space, or privileges

   Hostile aggression: major goal is to harm
    or injure

   Both form and expression of aggression
    change with age
Figure 14.1 Trajectories of mother-rated aggression for children from age 2 to age 9
    years. ADAPTED FROM NICHD EARLY CHILD CARE RESEARCH NETWORK, 2004.
Rough-and-Tumble vs. Aggression?
   Does rough and tumble play promote
    social development?
   rough and tumble could easily be
    misinterpreted
      Costabile et al. (1991)
 Strength and type of blows
 Facial expressions
 Presence or absence of laughter and
  angry words
 Presence or absence of a crowd watching
 Presence or absence of injury and crying
              Sex Differences
   On average, boys more aggressive
    – Not until 2 ½-3 years of age though!
 Biological differences
 Socialization differences
          THE DEVELOPMENT OF
              AGGRESSION

   Overt aggression declines from middle
    childhood through adolescence

   Relational aggression in girls, and indirect
    aggression in males increases
Individual Differences in Aggression
 Aggressive toddlers  aggressive 5 year
  olds
 Aggression between 3 and 10 
  aggression and antisocial behavior later in
  life
Figure 14.2. Aggression in childhood predicts criminal behavior in adulthood for both males and females. FROM
     HUESMANN, ERON, LEFKOWITZ, & WALDER, 1984.
Individual Differences in Aggression
 Few individuals are highly aggressive
 10-15% of classmates are abused by
  bullies
 Proactive aggressors
 Reactive aggressors
    Social Cognition of Aggression
   Dodge et al.
    – Kindergarten to fifth grade
    – Given written descriptions of aggressive and
      nonaggressive children, asked to name others
      in class who fit description
    – Aggressive = males…
    – Participants = aggressive and nonaggressive
      boys
    Social Cognition of Aggression
   Stories varied on:
    – Actions
        Negative outcome vs. Ambiguous outcome
    – Recipient of action
        Self vs. Other
    – Instigator of action
        Aggressive vs. Nonaggressive
    – Task:
        Decide why event occurred, indicate how they
         would respond
    Social Cognition of Aggression
   Results
    – Hostile intent attributed more often when
      aggressive boy was instigator
    – Hostile intentions attributed to negative
      outcomes more than ambiguous outcomes
    – When imagined self as recipient, aggressive
      boys attributed more hostile intent, even in
      ambiguous situations (hostile attributional
      bias)
    Social Cognition of Aggression
    aggressive boys biased
    may lead retaliation
    other children biased
    This seems to be a characteristic of
     reactive aggressors
    Social Cognition of Aggression
 Proactive aggressors may have friends
  and do not feel as disliked as reactive
  aggressors, so they may not be as likely to
  have a hostile attributional bias
 Proactive aggressors – plan an aggressive
  response to achieve an instrumental goal
    – Expect positive outcomes
    – Feel capable of dominating others
        Support for Aggression
   Peers
    – Reinforcement
    – Elicitation
   Families
    – Coercive cycles
      Origins of Coercive Cycles
   Parental behavior
    – Ineffective at controlling child, parent loses
      control
    – Indiscriminate use of rewards/punishments
   Characteristics of child
    – Arrested development
        Insensitive to social stimuli
Prosocial Behavior and Altruism
   Altruism – concern for the welfare of
    others and willingness to act on that
    concern
    – 12 to 18 month olds offer toys to peers
    – Toddlers can express sympathy
        Verbally rebuking children and physically punishing
         them reduces compassion
        Discipline based on affective explanation increases
         compassion
Prosocial Behavior and Altruism
   Developmental Trends in Altruism
    – 2-3 year olds show sympathy/compassion
    – 4-6 year olds – more real helping acts, fewer
      during pretend play
Prosocial Behavior and Altruism
   Sex Differences in Altruism
    – Girls are more likely to be helpful, generous,
      and compassionate than boys (small
      difference)
    – Boys less cooperative and more competitive;
      more interested in looking good or attaining
      status/dominance over others
          Prosocial Reasoning
 Children with well-developed role-taking
  skills are more helpful
 Prosocial moral reasoning
    – Preschoolers tend to be self-serving
    – Older adolescents are much more responsive
      to the needs of others
   One day a girl named Mary was going to a
    friend’s birthday party. On her way she
    saw a girl who had fallen down and hurt
    her leg. The girl asked Mary to go to her
    house and get her parents so they could
    come and take her to a doctor. But if
    Mary did, she would be late to the party
    and miss the ice-cream, cake, and all the
    games. What should Mary do?
            Prosocial Reasoning
   Eisenberg found that responses formed an age-
    related sequence
    – Hedonistic responses – motivated by consideration of
      selfish gain
    – Needs oriented – consideration of others’ feelings and
      needs
    – Stereotyped – try to gain approval
    – Empathic orientation – judgments include
      sympathetic feelings
    – Internalized values – based on internalized values
           Prosocial Reasoning
   Also observed behavior in classroom for 2
    months (4 and 5 year olds)
    – Hedonistic and needs-oriented were most common
      responses
    – Needs-oriented reasoning = more likely to share
    – Hedonistic = less likely to share
   Empathy: an emotional experience in response
    to another person’s emotional state or situation
    that is similar to that person’s emotion and is
    accompanied by concern for the other person
 Socialization of Prosocial Behavior
 Modeling
 Disciplinary techniques (Hoffman)
    – Power assertion
    – Love withdrawal
    – Induction
Socialization of Prosocial Behavior
   Zahn-Waxler & Radke-Yarrow
    – Measured mothers’ reactions to events where
      their child caused distress or witnessed
      distress
    – Affective explanation
    – Neutral explanation
    – No explanation
Socialization of Prosocial Behavior
   Attributions
    – Attribute a behavior to self…bowling study…
           Moral Development
   How Developmentalists Look at Morality
    – Affective component – stressed by
      psychoanalytic theorists – moral affects
    – Cognitive component – stressed by cognitive-
      developmental theorists – moral reasoning
    – Behavioral component – stressed by social
      learning and social information-processing
      theorists – moral behavior
           Moral Development
   The Affective Component of Moral
    Development
    – Freud’s Theory of Oedipal Morality
        Superego develops during phallic stage
        Identifies with same-sex parent
        Internalizes same-sex moral standards
          –Girls have weaker superegos than boys
       Moral Development
– Evaluation of Freud’s Theory
    Pride, shame, guilt are important for ethical
     conduct
    Internalization of standards is vital
    Details of theory unsupported
      –Harsh discipline = less morality
      –Boys not more moral than girls
      –Underestimated when children begin
        expressing morality
   Story A. A little boy who is called John is
    in his room. He is called to dinner. He
    goes into the dining room. But behind the
    door there was a chair, and on the chair
    there was a tray with 15 cups on it. John
    couldn’t have known that there was all
    this behind the door. He goes in, the door
    knocks against the tray, bang go the 15
    cups, and they all get broken.
   Story B. Once there was a little boy
    whose name was Henry. One day when
    his mother was out he tried to reach some
    jam in the cupboard. He climbed onto a
    chair and stretched out his arm. But the
    jam was too high up, and he couldn’t
    reach it…While he was trying to get it, he
    knocked over a cup. The cup fell down
    and broke.
           Moral Development
 The Premoral Period
 Heteronomous Morality
    – Objective responsibility
    – Immanent justice
   Autonomous Morality
           Moral Development
   Moving From Heteronomous to
    Autonomous Morality
    – Cognitive maturation – decline in
      egocentrism, increase in role-taking
    – Social experience – equal status with peers is
      vital
       Lessen respect for adult authority
       Increases self and peer respect
       Shows rules are arbitrary
           Moral Development
   Evaluation of Piaget
    – Describes general direction of change in moral
      judgment fairly well
    – Underestimates moral capacities of young
      children
           Moral Development
   Intentions – Nelson (1980)
    – Read story in which child threw a ball to
      playmate
    – Motives were good or bad
    – Consequences were positive or negative
    – Acts ending in positive consequences judged
      more favorably than those ending in harm
    – Good intentions judged more favorably than
      bad
         Moral Development
   by age 4, recognize the difference
    between truthfulness and lying
   approve of telling the truth and
    disapprove of lying
   evaluate personal injury more harshly
    than property injury
   more tolerant of immoral acts followed
    by an apology
           Moral Development
   Social Conventional Reasoning (Turiel)
    – 2 and 3 y/o interviewed about drawings
      depicting familiar moral and social
      conventional transgressions
    – By 34 months, saw moral transgressions as
      “more wrong”
    – By 42 months, said moral violations would still
      be wrong if undetected
   In Europe, a woman was near death from a special
    kind of cancer. There was one drug that doctors
    thought might save her. It was a form of radium
    that a druggist in the same town had recently
    discovered. The drug was expensive to make, but
    the druggist was charging $2000, or 10 times the
    cost of the drug, for a small (possibly life-saving)
    dose. Heinz, the sick woman’s husband, borrowed
    all the money he could, about $1000, or half of
    what he needed. He told the druggist that his wife
    was dying and asked him to sell the drug cheaper or
    to let him pay later. The druggist replied “No, I
    discovered the drug, and I’m going to make money
    from it.” Heinz then became desperate and broke
    into the store to steal the drug for his wife. Should
    Heinz have done that?
            Moral Development
   Level 1: Preconventional Morality
    – Stage 1: Punishment-and-Obedience
      Orientation
        Goodness or badness depends on consequences of
         act – bad acts are punished
    – Stage 2: Naïve Hedonism
        Conform to rules to gain rewards
            Moral Development
   Level 2: Conventional Morality
    – Stage 3: “Good Boy” or “Good Girl”
      Orientation
        Moral behavior pleases, helps, or is approved of by
         others
    – Stage 4: Social-Order-Maintaining Morality
        Right conforms to legal authority; rules maintain
         social order
            Moral Development
   Level 3: Postconventional (or Principled)
    Morality
    – Stage 5: The Social-Contract Orientation
        Laws should express will of majority, and further
         human welfare; if not, challenge them
    – Stage 6: Morality of Individual Principles of
      Conscience
        Individual abstract moral guidelines that transcend
         laws
        Rare (a hypothetical construct)
        No longer measured
           Moral Development
   Support for Kohlberg’s Theory
     – Are Kohlberg’s Stages an Invariant
       Sequence?
         Individuals do proceed through stages
          in order
         Stages are not skipped
         Stage 3 or 4 is highest level for most
          people
            Moral Development
   Criticisms of Kohlberg’s Approach
    – Issues with consistency
    – Ecological validity
    – Is Kohlberg’s Theory Incomplete?
        Emphasizes moral reasoning, did not focus on
         moral affect or behavior
        Thought mature moral reasoning would lead to
         moral behavior
          – Supported by research
            Moral Development
   Criticisms (con’t)
    – Limited scope
    – Is Kohlberg’s Theory Culturally Biased?
        Some aspects of moral development vary among
         societies
          – Cultural beliefs define morality
    – Is Kohlberg’s Theory Gender Biased?
        Morality of justice for males, versus morality of
         caring for females
          – Not supported by research
            Moral Development
   Criticisms (con’t)
    – Does Kohlberg Underestimate Young
      Children?
        Yes, as his focus was on legalistic concepts
        Did not examine distributive justice
              Moral Development
   Damon – distributive justice rationales
    – Level   0   (birth-5)
    – Level   1   (5-6)
    – Level   2   (6-7)
    – Level   3   (8+)

				
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posted:9/19/2012
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