Aggression Essay 2

Topics: Aggression, Anger, 16 Personality Factors Pages: 10 (2491 words) Published: March 28, 2011


Aggressiveness is an intentional behavior aimed at causing either physical or psychological pain.

There are two types of aggression:

Hostile aggression is an act of aggression stemming from feelings of anger and aimed at inflicting pain.

Instrumental aggression is aggression that serves as a means to some goal other than causing pain.

As aggression is an emotional reaction and it is very hard to measure. The most common way aggression is measured in lab studies is by asking people to give electric shocks. Other ways include getting them to punch a doll, to verbally rate how aggressive they felt, or to push a button to rate their aggression on a scale. However, these are subjective and people have different perspectives of aggression. THEORIES OF AGGRESSION:

There are many theories as to what causes us to act aggressively.

Drive Theories

Drive Theories (of aggression)—suggest that aggression stems from external conditions that arouse the motive to harm or injure others.A famous drive theory is the frustration-aggression hypothesis—the suggestion that frustration is a very powerful determinant of aggression. This theory is not well supported, but remains popular.

Frustration-aggression Hypothesis
When we are blocked from achieving our goal, this leads to frustration. Frustration can then lead to aggression. However, sometimes this frustration can be displaced and lead to something else, eg depression. Frustration can be increased when it is unexpected, or when we are nearer to our goal when it is blocked - you are more likely to get angry at someone for pushing in front of you if you are second in a queue than if you are 50th in the queue. Frustration is likely to be less keenly felt when it is understandable, legitimate or unintentional. Relative Deprivation Theory

When people feel that they deserve more than they have got, this can lead to frustration, which can then lead to aggression. This does not always happen in the poorest areas, as you might expect, as it is about what people feel they deserve. It occurs when people compare what they have to what others around them have. It often occurs when conditions are improving and expectations are rising but are not met. Cue-arousal Theory

According to this theory, although frustration leads to anger, it doesn't necessarily lead to aggression. There needs to be some associated stimulus to spark the aggression. For example, if you were carrying a pile of heavy books and couldn't get the door open, this would cause you to feel frustration, but not aggression. However, if someone then laughed at you, this may be the cue to aggression. This was shown by an experiment called the Weapons Effect. Participants were given a task to do and were verbally criticized for their performance of the task, leading to frustration. They were then given the chance to give electric shocks to the people who had criticized them. Half of the participants did this while there was a gun present. These people gave significantly more shocks than the other half, suggesting that the gun acted as a cue to aggression. However, one criticism of this study is that there may be cultural differences. For example, some people may have given less shock as the other person had the gun. Excitation-Transfer Theory

This theory suggests that arousal from one situation can be transferred to another situation. For example, a number of participants were provoked by verbal abuse. Half then went and did some exercise and half did nothing. All of the participants then had the chance to give electric shocks to the people that had abused them. The people that did the exercise gave more shocks than the others. This showed that the arousal from the exercise was transferred into aggression. The Excitation-transfer theory was criticized for assuming that aggressive acts are committed without thinking, which does not account for acts that are planned in a cold, calculating way. It...

References: 1.
2. Psychology book – NCERT – Class XI
3. Psychology book – NCERT – Class XII
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