Aggression / Biology of Aggression
Posted by: Rachel, Courteney, and Sunnah
Summary: The Psychology of Aggression
When people are in an "unpleasant" situation, they tend to take it out on others. Unpleasant situations frustrate people, and frustration leads to anger which in turn leads to aggression--this is especially true when there is an aggressive cue, such as a gun, present. To understand this process, try recalling the "fight or flight" response from a while back.
Other stimuli (of aggression) are physical pain, persona insults, foul odors, hot temperatures, cigarette smoke, etc... Some researchers even concluded that an increase of 4 degrees Fahrenheit (due to global warming) would lead to 50,000 additional assaults in the U.S. alone.
Aggression is a natural reaction to frustration and anger, but people can learn to alter their actions. People learn to be aggressive when they know that it will lead to some sort of reward. For example, having tantrums to get a new toy, or bullying others to do one's homework. Research has found out that children who grow up with aggressive models in their childhood often imitate what they see in order to get what they want--like parents who try to discipline their children with beatings, children see violence as a means of acquiring power and control.
Violence varies between different cultures and countries.
The absence of a father also plays a significant role in teenage aggression in the United States.
It is important to keep in mind that individuals differ from generalizations or stereotypes. Aggressive behavior is influenced by interaction of persons and situations--which are unique for every person.
Aggressive behavior is hard to undo once it has settled. Parents ar encouraged to raise children without screaming and using violence to make children behave. Positive communication skills and controlling of anger for juvenile offenders and their parents helped them replace their aggression.
Social psychologists say the media influences partly through 'social scripts'. This is the idea that when we are not sure how to act in certain situations, we try to rely on social scripts that are culture provides us with. After action films, young children may have a script- 'a mental tape for how to act'- that is played in their minds when they are put into real-life situations.
This is the same idea with 'sexual innuendoes'. After viewing such acts youngsters may have sexual 'scripts' that are played in real life. Also, in the 1960s and 1970s, movies and rock music tried to glamorize the use of drugs. Although many of that disappeared as well as cigarette smoking in movies, these reappeared by the increase of teen smoking rates.
Do Video Games Teach or Release Violence?
There are many questions that lie about video games and their effects such as: When young children play violent games, do they acquire 'social scripts'? Even if some did not commit crime after watching such violence, would they become more 'desensitized' to violence? To these questions, Mary Ballard and Rose Wiest proposed some answers. They had found that the level of violence and arousal rose among college men as they played the game: "Mortal Kombat." Other studies showed that such aggressive thoughts can lead to higher rates of aggression.
Although many studies show that video games can increase aggression, these studies go against the catharsis hypothesis that is the idea that people feel better after they 'blow off steam' by letting out their emotions. One video game company's CEO said that we are 'violent by nature and need release valves.'
Related Videos and Pictures:
This is an interesting video about how violent video games could make children more violent.
On the left is a video that shows a debate about whether violent video games cause violent behavior among children. There are two guests, one of them who has a Phd in social psychology and is a professor at the University of Michigan.
The other is the founder of Gangrevolution.com.
A psychologist in the video above talks about violent games and how they can cause violent behavior.
A video on child abuse, the abused child will probably grow up to become a child abuser because of being exposed to it when she was a young.
If you are really into this topic, you can watch this long video on neurobiology of aggression.