Chapter 13

Chapter 13

Chapter 13 Aggressi on Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 1 Origins of Aggression Freud suggested that we have an instinct to aggress.

Sociobiologists argue that aggression is an inherited tendency because it promotes reproductive fitness. Testosterone and serotonin levels are associated with aggression. Despite evidence of biological underpinnings, social factors greatly influence the expression of aggression. Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 2 Definition of Aggression Aggression is any action that is intended to hurt another.

Aggression may be antisocial, sanctioned (e.g., self-defense), or prosocial (e.g., law enforcement) Aggression is a behavior and should be distinguished from feelings of anger Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 3 Sources of Anger Attack Frustration

= interference with goal attainment includes family conflicts, job and money problems, even high temperatures Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 4 Aggressive Behavior Learning to Be Aggressive

A main mechanism that determines aggression is past learning. As with other learned behaviors, aggression is influenced by both imitation and reinforcement. Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 5 Aggressive Behavior Bandura et al. (1961) studied aggressive behavior.

Children watched an adult play quietly with Tinkertoys and either play aggressively with a Bobo doll or ignore the Bobo doll. Children who saw the model play aggressively with Bobo were subsequently more aggressive when they were left in a playroom with a Bobo. More so when the model was rewarded, the same sex as the child, or had a nurturing relationship Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 6 with the child. Aggression by Children Witnessing Violent or Neutral Model Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall

7 Aggressive Behavior Reinforcement is a major facilitator of aggression. Parents provide both reinforcement and a model. Children whose parents punish them for fighting tend to be less aggressive at home but more aggressive away. Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall

8 Aggressive Behavior For an attack or frustration to produce anger and aggression, it must be perceived as intended to harm. Attributions of controllability affect this assessment. Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 9

Aggressive Behavior People who are chronically aggressive have a strong attributional bias to perceive others as acting against them with hostile intent, especially in ambiguous situations. Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 10 Aggressive Behavior Graham et al (1992) developed an effective 12-session program that

trained aggressive youths to infer non-hostile intent following ambiguous peer provocation. E.g., ask them to consider how easy it is for a ball thrown by a peer to hit someone in the head accidentally. Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 11 Aggressive Behavior Reinforcement, imitation, and assumptions about others motives

may all combine to produce a schema for aggression. Once these schemas are in place, aggressive behaviors can be selfperpetuating. Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 12 Aggressive Behavior The general affective aggression model suggests that factors increasing aggression do so by increasing the accessibility of aggressive thoughts. Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall

13 General Affective Aggression Model Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 14 Aggressive Behavior Social Norms are crucial in determining what aggressive habits are learned. Dehumanization: Taking away the

personhood or human qualities of another person. Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 15 Aggressive Behavior Instrumental Aggression occurs when a person uses aggression to obtain a practical goal by hurting others, even when he or she is not angry. Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 16

Aggressive Behavior Deindividuation may produce contagious violence in crowd situations. Factors that influence this include anonymity, diffusion of responsibility, group size, arousal due to noise and fatigue, and novel, unstructured situations. Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 17 Reduction of Aggressive Behavior

Punishment and Retaliation Learned Inhibitions Distraction Aggression Anxiety Pain Cues Alcohol and Drugs Displaced Aggression Catharsis

Teens and Violence Reducing Aggressive Behavior: A Comment Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 18 Reduction of Aggressive Behavior Aggressive behavior is a major problem for the human species. All societies expend much energy trying to control tendencies towards violence. Every solution has its own risks

and unintended consequences. Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 19 Reduction of Aggressive Behavior Fear of punishment or retaliation reduce aggression only in the immediate situation. Generate anger Spark counter-aggression Even if they worked, this is too

expensive to be a wide-spread solution Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 20 Reduction of Aggressive Behavior Trying to reduce frustration is also ineffective. Government responses to try to reduce large-scale economic frustrations are sometimes effective, sometimes not.

However, such programs can never eliminate frustration, so other techniques for reducing aggression are necessary. Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 21 Reduction of Aggressive Behavior One way to reduce aggression is for people to learn to control their own aggressive urges. Distraction is one way to cope with anger; it

may or may not succeed. Aggression anxiety is the anxiety people feel when they are about to commit an aggressive act. Women, children from middle-class homes, and children whose parents use reasoning and withdrawal of affection (rather than physical aggression) as disciplinary techniques are higher in this anxiety. Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 22 Reduction of Aggressive Behavior Pain cues from the victim reduce

aggression unless the aggressor is extremely angry to begin with; then they can increase aggression. Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 23 Reduction of Aggressive Behavior Alcohol and some other drugs (PCP, methamphetamines, crack cocaine) may increase violence by reducing inhibitions against it.

People who are intoxicated attend less to the consequences of their behavior. Alcohol also heightens peoples response to social pressures to aggress. Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 24 Amount of shock administered ---- alcohol consumed Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 25 Displaced Aggression

When aggressive feelings cannot be expressed against the cause of the anger, we may engage in displaced aggression against a substitute target. The more similar a target is to the original source, the stronger the aggressive impulse, but also the greater the anxiety that is felt about aggressing. Thus displaced aggression is most likely to be directed towards targets that are weaker & less 26 dangerous.Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall Catharsis Catharsis refers to Freuds idea

that the release of anger would reduce subsequent aggression. Catharsis may reduce subsequent aggression when an angry person expresses that anger directly towards the person who frustrated them. But under many conditions, catharsis may actually increase aggression Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 27 Violence in schools

High rates of teen violence Every day, 5000 teachers are threatened and 200 actually attacked. Which teens kill? More likely if child comes from a violent family, has a history of abuse, belongs to a gang, abuses drugs or alcohol, has access to weapons, has problems at school, has a neurological disorder. Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall

28 Violence in schools Most school shootings have occurred in rural or suburban, not urban, settings. Most perpetrators are young white males with a history of social problems. Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 29 Media Violence

Does watching violent programming have an effect on aggressive behavior? Theories that suggest it could include Learning theory (observation; reinforcement too since much media aggression is rewarded) Cognitive theories (children could learn aggressive scripts and be over-quick to respond aggressively to minor insults; especially those with a predisposition to

Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 30 aggression) Media Violence What does research actually find about the effects of media violence? Laboratory Experiments Laboratory studies generally find that observing televised aggression increases aggressive behavior

Recent studies suggest that the causal mechanism may be that TV violence primes aggression-related material in Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 31 Media Violence A problem with laboratory studies is that they may be low in external validity.

Exposure to conditions is brief and controlled Little opportunity is provided for alternative responses such as distraction Aggression may be measured in ways that encourage its expression However, the lab studies and real-world studies agree on the conditions under which aggression occurs: more so after provocation, alcohol consumption, anonymity;Taylor, men more than women 2006, Prentice Hall 32 Media Violence

Correlational research on media violence focuses on longitudinal studies asking whether those children who watch more violent TV are more aggressive as adults. Overall results show a modest positive correlation But as with correlational research in general, there are alternative explanations Children who watch more TV in general more violent? Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall

33 Media Violence Field Experiments answer criticisms by using experimental methods in real-world settings. Most studies have found mixed results. In real-life situations, observed violence seems to have fairly weak effects on aggressive behavior. Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall

34 Media Violence Recent studies have begun to examine the effects of violence in video games Anderson & Dill (2000) found that violent video games increase aggressive thoughts & behavior in the lab and are related to delinquency in the real world More so for males and for people with

a prior history of aggression Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 35 Media Violence Conclusions on Media Violence Media violence is neither necessary nor sufficient to produce aggressive behavior Aggressive behavior is multiply

determined. By itself, media violence is unlikely to foster aggression. However, media violence may contribute to aggressive acts in some individuals Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 36 Media Violence Does watching pornography promote sexual violence? Research that examines this makes a

distinction between violent and nonviolent erotica. One hypothesis is that violent erotica may trigger aggression against women. Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 37 Shock Intensity as a function of prior angering and type of erotic film Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall

38 Media Violence The results of the Donnerstein & Berkowitz study show that the violent erotic film that showed a woman enjoying the violence provoked aggression against a woman even by men who were not angry at her. For angry men, seeing any violent erotic film (but not a nonviolent erotic film), provoked aggression. Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall

39 Media Violence Exposure to violent erotica may contribute to desensitization of men to violence towards women and foster more accepting attitudes to such violence Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 40 Media Violence However, note that there are

problems with the external validity of such research Demand characteristics in the lab situation may increase aggression because the purpose of the study seems obvious Separated post-test research shows lesser effects Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 41 Intimate Violence

Domestic Violence is violence committed by one family member against another Most common: parents abusing children, husbands abusing wives There are huge personal and social costs to this abuse Police are more reluctant to intervene in family violence than stranger violence Why do women remain? Economic dependence, few options for escape or

42 alternativesTaylor, 2006, Prentice Hall Intimate Violence A mans need to control or dominate women and an inability to empathize with others may make violence more likely. Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 43 Total rapes/sexual assaults per year and the relationship of the attacker to the victim. Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall

44 Intimate Violence Rape is forced sexual activity without the partners consent. It is a crime of aggression and power, involving a male need for control & domination ~20% of women in the U.S. have been raped, often when under age 18, and usually by someone they know, often by a relative or boyfriend (current or former) Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall

45 Intimate Violence Rape Myths may contribute to the high rates of rape E.g.,Women ask for it One important myth is the idea that only disturbed men rape. However, about half of male college

students said they would force a woman to have sex against her will if they could get away with it. Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 46 Intimate Violence Men and women have different perceptions of rape. Muehlenhard (1988) had students evaluate scenarios. Men were more likely to overestimate the womans interest in sex and rated the use of force as more justifiable than women

did. Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 47 Intimate Violence Men hold more rape myths than women. Men who hold rape myths tolerate more violence in general, hold more conservative sex-role stereotypes, & exhibit hostility towards women

Rape myths create a cultural climate that is tolerant of rape Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 48 Intimate Violence Why Do Men Rape? Hostile childhood experiences

Believing rape myths Anger towards women Need for dominance over women Sex & aggression are linked in the minds of some men Peer influence Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 49 Intimate Violence Adjustment to Rape Victims are often blamed, and may blame themselves

There are long-lasting physical & psychological consequences Neither self-blame nor societal blame fosters good adjustment STDs, pregnancies; fear, anxiety, depression Current legal system structure may make things worse & foster decreased reporting Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 50

Intimate Violence Sexual Harassment includes many aggressive behaviors: unwelcome sexual advances, verbal & physical conduct of a sexual nature that creates a hostile and intimidating work environment Widespread problem in the workplace Creates profound job, psychological, and health consequences for those who experienceTaylor, it 2006, Prentice Hall

51 Intimate Violence Factors contributing to sexual harassment are unequal power in the workplace, and men who have an automatic link between sex and power. Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 52 Intimate Violence The mechanisms for reporting

sexual harassment appear to encourage rather than discourage its reporting Taylor, 2006, Prentice Hall 53

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