Aggression Words or actions meant to hurt people
Why are people aggressive?Biological View • Sociobiology – Social behavior is controlled by genes • Aggression seems to help animals survive and reproduce thus passing the aggressive genes on to the next generation.
Criticism of Sociobiological View • It does not take into account the cooperation that takes place in humans for survival • No “aggressive” gene has been found • Aggression varies widely from culture to culture which shows more than just genetics. • Do agree that the brain (amygdala) is involved in aggression.
Psychoanalytic View • Freud said aggression is due to frustration. • We do want to harm those who don’t meet our wishes or demands but this aggression is mostly repressed. • Aggression finds outlets in disobeying orders or destroying other people’s things. • Freud felt it was important to vent this aggression (Sarcasm, cheering on your sports team or watching aggressive sports). • Venting aggressive impulses called Catharsis • Unclear if venting works as sometimes people get more aggressive while doing it.
Cognitive View • Aggressive behavior reflects a person’s values and the choices they make. • Aggression is justified by a person as necessary for the given situation. • People decide to act aggressively based on previous experiences with aggressive behavior and their interpretation of other people’s behavior.
Learning View • Aggressive behavior is reinforced (rewarded) so people learn to behave aggressively. • This is especially true in sports. • Can learn aggression through observation • By middle school the average child has seen more than 8,000 murders and 100,000 other violent acts on television • TV may reinforce people’s ideas about violence and lessen their inhibitions against it. Children will also imitate what they see.
Sociocultural View • Some cultures encourage independence and competitiveness which promotes aggression. • When one person is encouraged to win over others aggression can often result. • Cultures where cooperation and the welfare of the group are valued see lower levels of violence.
Role Playing • Playing a role can influence or change one’s attitude • Zimbardo’s Prison Study • College students played the role of guard or prisoner in a simulated prison. • The study was ended after just 6 days when the guards became too aggressive and cruel. • Want to learn more about this famous study? See the Stanford Prison Experiment Online Slide Show or watch Stanford Prison Experiment video (8 minutes) • Modern issues of Prison Abuse – see CNN Report on Juvenile Jails and Abuse – 3 min. Dr. Phillip Zimbardo
How would these different perspectives explain the aggressive behaviors demonstrated in the Zimbardo Prison Experiment? • Sociobiological • Psychoanalytic • Cognitive • Learning • Sociocultural