Aggression Essay

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Outline and evaluate one or more social psychological explanations for aggression. There are many social psychological explanations for aggression that try and explain the cause of aggression. The social learning theory originated from work by Tarde who looked at key characteristics of imitation and the ways in which our social behaviours and responses could be shaped by the actions of others. Bandura developed this theory and thought it had four basic processes; attention, retention, reproduction and motivation. The central parts of these processes were the presence of a role model from where behaviour can be copied. The child also needs to have self-efficacy which gives them the ability to imitate the behaviour. Bandura et al (1961) conducted ‘Bobo doll’ studies where they split 72 child participants into three groups: a control group who didn’t see an adult interact with Bobo, a group exposed to an aggressive model but half saw a same sex model and half the opposite sex and a group exposed to a non-aggressive role model. The children were put into a room with Bobo and construction toys after watching the role-model’s behaviour. Bandura observed them for 20 minutes. The results found that the more the role model is like you, the more likely you are to mirror their behaviours. Bandura found that when the role model was the same sex as the child, they were more likely to behave aggressively towards the Bobo doll. They also saw that boys were generally more aggressive than girls. This was a lab experiment and so there was environmental continuity between each child; however, due to its artificial nature, it lacks ecological validity. Also, the experiment was only performed in one cultural setting and this creates cultural bias. There is also a possibility that the behaviour may have been a result of demand characteristics because children like to please adults. Bobo was a toy originally meant for bashing and this could have a large influence on the child’s...
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