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Aggression

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					Aggression
          What is Aggression?
• any behavior that is intended to harm another
  person
  – intention and harm are necessary -- e.g.,
    accidental tripping
             Two Basic Types
• hostile
  – goal is to inflict pain
  – typically emotional -- anger
  – an end in itself
             Two Basic Types
• instrumental
  – goal is something other than causing pain
     • e.g., football, Tonya Harding
  – a means to an end
    Manifestations of Aggression
• verbal aggressions
• direct aggression
• indirect aggression
         Effects of Aggression
• on the victim
  – lack of trust
  – lack of feeling safe
• on the aggressor
  – development of an aggressive personality
  – lower intellectual achievement
        What are the Causes of
            Aggression?
• Freud’s theory of aggression
  – eros and thantos -- basic human instinct
  – eros is in the interest of self-preservation, so
    thantos is redirected toward others
  – if not released, we will experience a “physic
    explosion”
         What are the Causes of
             Aggression?
• biological instinct theories
   – aggression works in terms of natural selection
   – but, aggressive responses are modifiable
      • differences between genders, across cultures, and
        within cultures across time (Archer & Gartner, 1984)
        What are the Causes of
            Aggression?
• sociobiological theories
  – amygdala and hippocampus (limbic system)
  – stimulation can elicit aggression
     • e.g., Charles Whitman -- brain tumor
         What are the Causes of
             Aggression?
• testosterone
  – males are more physically aggressive than females
    (Maccoby & Jacklin, 1974)
  – pregnant rhesus monkeys injected with
    testosterone -- aggressive female infants
  – female inmates more likely to get in skirmishes
    right before menstruation (Dalton, 1964)
        What are the Causes of
            Aggression?
• genetic basis
  – mice have been bred for aggression -- manifest
    aggression in 2nd or 3rd generation (Lagerspetz, 1979)
  – evidence of genetic component of nurturance,
    empathy, and aggression (Rushton et al., 1986)
  – XYY genotype
     Social Causes of Aggression
• instrumental -- cost-benefit analysis
   – personal abilities
      • children who find it easy to do (Perry et al., 1986)
   – gender differences
      • men perceive it to be less costly than women (Eagly,
        1987)
   – modeling successful aggression (Bandura, 1973)
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     Social Causes of Aggression
• media violence
  – IV: children watched violent police drama or
    exciting, non-violent sporting event
  – DV: subsequent behavior in a group of other
    children




(Liebert & Baron, 1972)
     Social Causes of Aggression
• media violence
  – TV violence and violent crime (longitudinal
    study)
  – the more violence watched at age 8, the more
    likely to commit violent crime at age 30




(Huesmann, 1986)
    Social Causes of Aggression
• gender socialization
  – males more aggressive than females regardless of
    age, culture, and other factors (Maccoby & Jacklin, 1974)
  – aggression differs by situation (Eagly & Steffen, 1986)
     • gender differences more pronounced in lab studies
     • little danger -- gender differences are small
     • difference greater with pain or physical injury, but
       smaller with psychological or social harm
    Social Causes of Aggression
• gender socialization
  – overt vs. covert aggression
     • relational aggression: ostracism, rumor spreading,
       threat of social rejection
  – 500 children (3-5 grades) -- identify peers who
    manifest certain types of aggression (Crick &
    Grotpeter, 1995)
                        Social Causes of Aggression
                        30
% who were identified




                        25

                        20

                        15                                 Boys
                                                           Girls
                        10

                        5

                        0
                             Overt   Relational   Either


(Crick & Grotpeter, 1995)
    Social Causes of Aggression
• gender socialization
  – girls: value their connections with others
  – boys: value their independence and nonsocial
    achievements

  – “I won’t invite you to my birthday party.”
     • intentional
     • intent to harm
       Situational Influences of
              Aggression
• frustration-aggression theory
  – frustration elicits a motive to aggress
  – all aggression is caused by frustration
  – Barker et al. (1941)
     • children expecting to play with toys, but were kept
       from doing so
     • much more destructive than children who were not
       frustrated
        Situational Influences of
               Aggression
• temperature
  – more violent crimes…
     • in summer than winter
     • during hot years than in cool years
     • in hot cities than in cooler cities
  – political uprisings, riots, homicides, assaults, and
    rapes all increase in summer months
  – more batters hit with pitches if > 90 degrees
    (Reifman et al., 1988)
Cultural Influences of Aggression
• Southern culture of honor
                               Homicide Rates
      Region              (White Male Offender Rate)
      New England                    2.62
      Middle Atlantic                1.90
      Midwest                        2.92
      Pacific                        4.62
      Mountain                       4.67
      Southwest                      5.13
      South                          8.23
 adapted from Nisbett (1993)
Cultural Influences of Aggression
• Southern culture of honor
  – higher rates related to arguments or conflicts
  – South settled by herders
     • “Every man should be sheriff of his own hearth.”
  – Hodding Carter
     • “He ain’t guilty. He wouldn’t have been much of a
       man if he hadn’t shot them fellows.”
  – until 1970’s, not illegal to kill wife’s lover caught
    in flagrante dilecto
% who agreed with the statement
“A man has the right to kill…”    Southern Culture of Honor
                                  80
                                  70
                                  60
                                  50
                                  40                            Southern
                                  30                            Northern

                                  20
                                  10
                                   0
                                       Self   Fam ily   House
       Southern Culture of Honor
• Southern culture of honor
   – 2 (Southern/Northern) X 2 (insult/no insult)
   – “chicken”, cortisol, testosterone




 (Cohen et al., 1996)
      Southern Culture of Honor
    120

    100

     80
                                      Northern
     60
                                      Southern
     40

     20

      0
                 Insult   No Insult

(Cohen et al., 1996)
      Southern Culture of Honor
    80
    70
    60
    50
                                      Northern
    40
                                      Southern
    30
    20
    10
     0
                 Insult   No Insult

(Cohen et al., 1996)
      Southern Culture of Honor
    12

    10

     8
                                      Northern
     6
                                      Southern
     4

     2

     0
                 Insult   No Insult

(Cohen et al., 1996)
                        Southern Man
Southern man better keep your head Don't forget what your good book said
Southern change gonna come at last Now your crosses are burning fast
Southern man
I saw cotton and I saw black Tall white mansions and little shacks.
Southern man when will you pay them back? I heard screamin' and
    bullwhips cracking How long? How long?
Southern man better keep your head Don't forget what your good book said
Southern change gonna come at last Now your crosses are burning fast
Southern man
Lily Belle, your hair is golden brown I've seen your black man comin' round
Swear by God I'm gonna cut him down! I heard screamin' and bullwhips
    cracking How long? How long?
             Sweet Home Alabama
Big wheels keep on turning Carry me home to see my kin
Singing songs about the Southland I miss Alabamy once again
   And I think its a sin, yes
Well I heard mister Young sing about her Well, I heard ole Neil
   put her down Well, I hope Neil Young will remember A
   Southern man don't need him around anyhow
Sweet home Alabama Where the skies are so blue Sweet Home
   Alabama Lord, I'm coming home to you
How Can We Reduce Aggression?
• exposure to non-aggressive models
• promote empathy and identification with
  those we might aggress against
• minimize aggression cues and opportunities

				
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posted:10/14/2011
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