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Theories of Aggression

Aggression Theories
Physiological
(biological)
1. Instinct Theory
(Freud, Lorenz
--death instinct)
2. Bio-Chemical
(allergiesfood)
3. Brain Tumor
4. Genetic
Psychological
1. Social Learning
(Modeling)
2. Frustration
Instinct TheoryLorenz
Theory based on his
research with animals
Believes that Aggression
is:
An instinct found in
animals
Spontaneous
Protective, defensive
Survival of the Fittest
Intra-speciesno killing
Species preserving
There is a check!
Instinct TheoryLorenz
Animals will stop
fighting once
submissive behavior is
expressed
What about humans?
Many societal inhibitions
prevent us from
expressing or discharging
or aggressive drive
War, Violence, Suicide
We have lost our
inhibitions!
Instinct TheoryFreud
Instincts are physiological needs within
people
Sexual and aggressive instincts (impulses) are
found in the I D
This drive is unconscious
We will act aggressively UNLESS, we are
checked by society and the SUPEREGO
Death I nstinct: the drive to destroy and kill
is as basic as the need to breathe, thus, we
are condemned to random violence
Instinct TheoryFreud
We are constantly in
situations that cause
us to experience
constraints and
frustrations, which
activate this
destructive force!
Steam Engine
Analogy holding in
steam, rather than
venting sets the
stage for explosions!
(Frustration)
Instinct TheoryFreud
How can we deal
with this frustration
and these impulses?
Catharsis: venting
of our aggressive
impulses
We must channel our
aggression!
Positive
Negative
Biochemical Theory
Allergies to food and
drug reactions may
cause aggressive
behavior:
Bananas
Yellow Dye
Why?
Allergy causes brain
tissue to swell and puts
pressure on the rage
center in the brain
(hypothalamus)
Biochemical Theory
Amphetamines
Can cause brain cells to
fire randomly causing
confusion and a feeling
of being threatened
Person lashes out to
protect him or herself
Alcohol
Reduces inhibitions
People who are insecure
or aggressive cannot
hold these traits in check.
Brain Tumor
Pressure from a tumor
or an injury near the
Hypothalamus may
influence aggression
EX. Cat and electrical
stimulation
Certain areas of the
hypothalamus when
stimulated, caused attack
behavior
Video: Mark Larribus
Genetic TheoriesIs
Aggression Inherited?
Aggression Genes found in Mice1996
Male mice lacking a single gene are sex
crazed and vicious
Continue to attack even when give up
signal is exhibited
Extra ChromosomeXYY
Criminals
Testosterone
Social Learning Theory
Aggression is
learned through
punishment, reward,
and modeling
Parents, family
members, siblings,
other children, and
the mass media play
a role in this
learning!
Social LearningModeling
Modeling: a process by
which an individual learns a
behavior by observing
another
Principles of Modeling:
Involves a social situation
Complex behavior can be
learned
Direct reinforcement is
not necessary!
Banduras Classic Study:
Children who saw LIVE
models imitated violence
more! (Bo-Bo Doll)
Frustration Theory
Earliest Theory
1930s Yale
Very simplistic at
firstFrustration
causes aggression
NOW: at the basis
of all aggression is a
Frustrating Event.
Frustration Theory
Displaced
Aggression: if a
person cannot take
out their aggression
on the source, they
will take it out on
another person!!
Yell at wife instead
of boss
Kick the dog