Aggression

Aggression - Aggression What is Aggression The simplest definition of aggression is that it is any behavior that hurts others But this definition

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Aggression What is Aggression? The simplest definition of aggression is that it is any behavior that hurts others. But this definition ignores the intention of the person who does the act, and this factor is critical. So aggression is defined as behavior directed toward the goal of harming another living being who is motivated to avoid such treatment. A second major distinction needs to be drawn between antisocial aggression and prosocial aggression . Many aggressive acts are actually dictated by social norms and are therefore described as prosocial. Unprovoked criminal acts that hurt others violate social norms and are thus antisocial acts. Some aggressive acts that fall somewhere between prosocial and antisocial might be labeled sanctioned aggression . Prosocial - dictated by social norm (punishing a child) Antisocial - unprovoked criminal acts Sanctioned aggression - not required by social norms but within their bounds (woman fighting back against an attacker) Another useful distinction is between aggressive behaviors and aggressive feelings such as anger. Finally, we need to distinguish between hostile aggression and instrumental aggression. In hostile aggression – the act of aggression stems from feelings of anger and is aimed at inflicting pain. In instrumental aggression – aggression is a means to some goal other than causing pain. Theoretical Perspectives on Aggression A. The Role of Biological Factors 1. Instinctual Theory Freud assumed that we have an instinct to be aggressive. 2 main forces: Freud theorized that human beings are born with an instinct toward life, which he called eros , and an equally powerful instinct toward death, which he called thanatos . Aggression can never be eliminated. Eros - instinct towards life Thanatos - instinct towards death Freud also felt the expression of aggression is cathartic (blow off steam). Catharsis may relax inhibitions and make you more aggressive short term. 1
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Konrad Lorenz – Also suggested that humans have an inborn tendency towards aggression, which he called the fighting instinct Particularly important for males 2. Evolutionary psychology- inherited tendencies, not specific behaviors Help males get mates; help females protect young Problem: human aggression is more complex than most animal aggression. Although most scientists no longer accept the idea that aggression derives from a death instinct, most concur that aggression springs from inherited tendencies that human being share with many other species. There is evidence that aggression runs in families, both in the animal and the human world. Damage to the limbic system can increase defensive aggression – heightened aggressiveness to stimuli that are not usually threatening or a decrease in the responses that normally inhibit aggression.
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This note was uploaded on 05/10/2010 for the course PSYC 2040 taught by Professor Adair during the Spring '10 term at LSU.

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Aggression - Aggression What is Aggression The simplest definition of aggression is that it is any behavior that hurts others But this definition

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