Dec 1 slides - Love and Death Week AGGRESSION Instrumental...

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“Love and Death” Week AGGRESSION Instrumental aggression – harm inflicted as a means to a desired end (e.g., personal gain, attention, or even self-defense). Assumption: If aggressor believes there is an easier way to obtain goal, aggression would not occur. Emotional aggression – harm inflicted for its own sake. Often “hot” and impulsive…
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but not necessarily as in “revenge is a dish best served cold” (a la the Count of Monte Cristo). BIOLOGICAL ELEMENTS To what extent is our level of aggression due to genetic factors? Twin studies (monozygotic compared to dizygotic). Prediction: identical twins should be more similar to each other in level of aggression than fraternal twins. Adoption studies. Prediction adopted children’s level of aggressiveness should resemble biological parents more than adoptive parents. Results: Greater than zero genetic contribution, but The general finding: strong relationship between testosterone level and physical violence.
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But what’s the interpretation? low levels of serotonin are associated with higher levels of aggression, and drugs that boost serotonin decrease aggression. An individual’s level of serotonin appears to have some a priori genetic component but it also fluctuates a lot from situation to situation.
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LEARNED ELEMENTS Aggressive behavior can be strongly reinforced via positive reinforcement (aggression produces rewards) or negative reinforcement (aggression prevents undesired outcome). Hall’s (1998) research suggests that punishment is more likely to work at decreasing aggression if it is: 1.immediate 2.strong 3.consistent. Berkowitz (1998) argued that the certainty of punishment is more important than its severity . Bandura’s Bobo Doll study: social models have great power to teach aggression, even without any real rewards or punishments to the child ! i.e. purely through observation Fortunately, studies have shown that nonaggression can also be successfully modeled through observational learning (Gibbons & Ebbeck, 1997).
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FRUSTRATION Dollard (1939): The Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis: 1.Frustration produced by interrupting a person’s progress toward an expected goal will always elicit the motive to aggress. 2.All aggression is caused by frustrations A key component: Displacement (the inclination to aggress is deflected to a more socially acceptable substitute) e.g., You come home from a bad day at work and yell at your spouse, kids, dog.
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Research has isolated the following reasons for why “catharsis” doesn’t actually happen:
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This note was uploaded on 04/14/2009 for the course EAS 120Y1 taught by Professor Ajimoro during the Spring '09 term at University of Toronto.

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Dec 1 slides - Love and Death Week AGGRESSION Instrumental...

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