Unformatted text preview: Aggression Psy 240; Fall 2006 Purdue University
Dr. Kipling Williams
1 Layperson Definitions of Aggression We commonly use the word aggression to mean: assertive competitive Forward/"fresh" risk-taking dominant, powerful angry Factors that predict aggression are different from factors that predict these behaviors
2 1 Working Definition Social psychologists define aggression as:
intent to harm another Problems with this: hard to measure intention, so why don't we just say "Doing harm to others?" Harming without intent shouldn't be called aggression Not harming, but intending to do so, should be called aggression 3 Three Theoretical Perspectives on Aggression Psychodynamic (Freud) Sociobiological (Lorenz) Learning I. Two-factor theory (Berkowitz) II. Social learning (Rotter, Bandura) III. GAM: General Aggression Model; (Anderson)
4 2 Freud's Psychodynamic Perspective We all possess an innate drive for sex and aggression. They are inescapable. Society functions to inhibit direct expression of these urges, so we seek socially acceptable means to express them sex: creativity, the arts aggression: sports, competition Hydraulic Model: aggressive tendencies build up over time and must be released (catharsis) Can achieve catharsis vicariously: watching violence can release pent-up 5 aggressive tendencies Sociobiological Perspective:
Lorenz Aggression is innate, necessary and adaptive Genes for aggression are passed along, whereas genes for passivity are not. Situational or environmental cues interact with genetic predispositions: Arousal caused by hormones, etc. A situational cue or trigger: hard wired, not learned The case of the "stickleback fish"
6 3 Stickleback Fish .........................
7 Learning I: Two factor theory of aggression (Berkowitz) We are not born with innate tendencies to be aggressive Two factors must co-occur in order to produce aggression: Arousal (could be hormonal, could be externally induced) External cue (learned to be associated with aggression)
8 4 Origins of 2-factor theory Originally stems from the "frustration-aggression hypothesis" hypothesis" "Frustration, and only frustration, causes aggression, and only aggression" Research Example: Children building blocks with desk-shaking button
9 Problems with the FrustrationAggression Hypothesis But, hypothesis overly strong and generally not supported, because: Many things can instigate aggression heat, insult, modeling or conformity Frustration causes other feelings and behaviours helplessness, perseverance, reactance 10 5 Two-factor Theory Internal arousal + External cue, which is learned (via classical
conditioning) Both must be present Examples Rifle study (lab) Dunking booth study (field) Horn-honking studies (field)
11 The Presence of a Gun
No Insult No Gun Gun Badminton Racquet ? ? ? Insult ? ? ?
12 Amount of Aggression as defined by intensity of shocks 6 The Presence of a Gun
No Insult No Gun Gun Badminton Racquet Low Low Low Insult Low High Low
13 Amount of Aggression as defined by intensity of shocks The Dunking Booth
No Insult Insult Pasture Backdrop Guns & Saloon backdrop ? ? ? ? Amount of Aggression as defined by number of bean bags thrown
14 7 The Dunking Booth
No Insult Insult Pasture Backdrop Guns & Saloon backdrop
Low Low Low High Amount of Aggression as defined by number of bean bags thrown
15 Learning II: Social learning Aggression is learned, not innate We learn either directly through reinforcement of aggressive behaviors; OR by modeling others who are behaving aggressively aggressive behavior must be rewarded aggressive behavior must be seen as real
16 8 Bandura's Bobo Doll Studies Participants were normal children Watched violent TV episode or various "control" episodes that were not violent Manipulated whether aggressor in video was rewarded or not Observed children in play area after they watched video Aggression defined as number of times the children hit the bobo doll
17 Results indicate that... Viewing rewarded violence increases violent behaviors in children. Viewing unrewarded violence does not necessarily increase violence Choice of control groups are very important when conducting this research So, what are the effects of watching violence? Catharsis or modeling?
18 9 Media Effects on Suicide
Phillips, 1977, 1978 U.S. suicides increase after publicized suicide stories the more publicity given to the suicide story, the higher the suicide rate thereafter; and the rise occurs mainly in the geographic area where the suicide story is publicized 19 Media Effects on Suicide
Phillips, 1977, 1978 Additionally, automobile fatalities also increase just after publicized suicide stories; the more publicity given to the stories, the greater the increase in automobile fatalities, and the increase occurs mainly in the area where the story is publicized.
20 10 Media Effects on Suicide
Phillips, 1977, 1978 Also, single-car crash fatalities increase more than other types, and the driver in these crashes is significantly similar to the person described in the suicide story, while the passengers are not. THEREFORE: suicide stories appear to elicit additional suicides, some of which are disguised as auto accidents
21 Media Effects on Homicide
Phillips What sort of media-depicted homicide would be modeled? Rewarded Made exciting Perceived as real Culturally Justified What is shown on TV that fits these criteria? Heavyweight Prizefighting
22 11 Media Effects on Homicide
Phillips Across U.S., homicide rates increased by 12.5% following highly publicized prize fights. The more publicized the fight, the greater the increase in the rate The relationship between prize-fight and homicide rate persisted after statistically controlling for day of week, seasons, and other extraneous variables
23 Media Effects on Homicide
Phillips Hypothesis 1: Prize fighting triggers an increase in gambling, which in turn provokes anger, fighting, and murder. However, increased homicide rate did not occur following the Super Bowl. Therefore, not supported. Hypothesis 2: Prize fight merely precipitated a murder that would have occurred anyway, even in the absence of the prize fight. Found no evidence of any dip in homicides soon after the peak. Therefore, not supported. Hypothesis 3: Social learning / modeling hypothesis. Was there victim modeling? -- is a person is more likely to aggress against a target victim if his target is similar to the victim? This hypothesis was supported: 24 12 Media Effects on Homicide
Phillips White-loser prize fights are followed by significant increases in young, white male homicides; in contrast, Black-loser prize fights do not seem to trigger young, white male homicides Black-loser prize fights are followed by significant increases in young, Black male homicides. White-loser prize fights do not trigger significant increases in Black male homicides. 25 Violence in Japanese TV: Personal Observations Japan has (or had) extraordinarily low violent crime rate Japan has explicit violence/nudity on TV, even on Sunday mornings How can this be? Offenders NOT rewarded The consequences of the violence are shown, not ignored. Grieving widows, children, etc.
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