Aggression and Prosocial Behavior

Topics: Aggression, Psychology, Bystander effect Pages: 3 (796 words) Published: June 13, 2013
Social psychology is defined as “the scientific study of how a person’s behavior, thoughts, and feelings are influenced by the real, imagined, or implied presence of others.” This definition is the basis upon which aggression and prosocial behavior are built. As a human being, each of us is given a daily choice of how and if we choose to interact with others. Although aggression and prosocial behavior are at opposite ends of the scale, the general idea behind each of them is that what we see, feel, understand and believe can have a massive impact on the way in which we choose to treat other people. On one end of the spectrum is aggression, a behavior intended to hurt or destroy another person. There are multiple rationales for what causes aggression and why some are more aggressive than others. The frustration-aggression hypothesis is the concept that different sources of frustration can cause a person to act aggressively. Environmental factors, such as excessive heat or noise, can increase frustration levels and thereby illicit an emotional response of aggression on the closest object. Other modern approaches for explaining aggression include a biological predisposition and learned behavior. Biologically speaking, it is possible that some gene or genes makes certain people prone to aggressive behavior under specific environmental conditions. Testosterone has also been linked to aggressive tendencies. The commonly known, “Roid Rage” that some bodybuilders and athletes experience when using steroids, is a prime example of increased testosterone affecting aggressive inclinations. Aggressive behavior can also be learned through observation. Over the years many psychologists have proven this theory in experimentation, such as the Zimbardo “prison experiment” and the Bandura “Bobo doll experiment”. When observing an authoritative figure or peer involving in an aggressive act and being reinforced after, the tendency is that the individual will learn this behavior and...
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