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instrumental aggression

inflicting harm for purpose of personal gain

ex. beating someone up to steal his money

emotional aggression

aggression for its own sake

ex. impulsive, out of rage

southern culture of honor

compared northern and southern-born Ps, while walking down hallway, bumped into and insulted by confederate (asshole), southerners had higher physiological symptoms of agitation, higher levels of testosterone, more aggressive behaviors later (handshake)

gender differences

seems universal that men more violent than women (instigate more), young children vary by gender in preference for violent play

women more likely to engage in relational aggression (manipulating, spreading gossip

when provoked or anonymous (video game), gender differences disappear

evolutionary explanations

female aggression often protects offspring, male aggression often protects status, ensures paternity

hormonal explanations

positive correlation with testosterone

social learning theory

punching dolls, kids watch adult interact with Bobo doll (aggressive or not), then the child interacts, exposure to aggressive modeling makes kids more aggressive, more guns, hostile language, chose aggressive games instead of other ones, children not exposed to that never showed novel forms of aggression

nurture explanations

reinforcement, punishment (immediate, strong enough to deter, consistent and fair)

media and violence

positive correlations


when we adapt to something, arousal diminishes


media creates alternative social reality for us

ex. people can trade huge punches for long time and be fine, people can get shot and keep walking around

effects of pornography

positive correlation with sexually aggressive attitudes/behavior

leads to arousal normally (misattribution, excitation transfer)

trivializes rape, objectifies women (social learning theory), female victims depicted as enjoying violence

leads to increased aggression without provocation

frustration-aggression hypothesis (original idea)

displacement + catharsis

frustration always elicits motive to aggress, all aggression caused by frustration (will channel or agress)


taking aggression out on someone else

ex. on younger siblings instead of parents


decreasing likelihood of aggression by imagining/observing it

ex. boxing class, punching a pillow, safe release

cultural differences

• Crimes are higher in the Americas than in many other regions in the world: relatively high rate of single parenthood
o Violent crime is lower in US than UK, but more murders because of gun-attitudes
o US deals with individuals rather than groups
• Individualistic, less concerned with harmony, more aggression vs. collectivist
• Certain places view forms of aggression as more or less acceptable, based on culture, not geography (Israeli Hews/Arabs)

individual differences

there are stable differences among individuals, can be predicted from childhood behavior

aggressive = people who tend to hold hostile cognitions, express anger, and exhibit irritability

with provocation, people with emotional susceptibility (tendency to feel distressed, vulnerable to perceived threats), narcissism (unstable self-esteem), type A personality (driven by feelings of inadequacy), impulsivity


with provocation, correlates with aggression


excitation transfer

situational cues

presence of a weapon can act as a situational cue that automatically triggers aggressive thoughts and feelings, thereby increasing the likelihood of aggression (weapons effect)

different effects hunters vs. non-hunters, hunting guns vs. assault guns

cognitive control

weigh costs/benefits of fighting

aggression can be contagious, or based on moral values, based on others perceived intentions

hostile attribution bias

tend to perceive hostile intent in others, cycle, social rejection


makes it more difficult to engage in high-order cognition that inhibits aggression

reduces anxiety, lowers people's inhibitions against aggressing, expectations

disrupts the way we process information

reducing violence: situational

reducing stressors such as frustration, discomfort, and provocation

reduce number of guns, teaching and modeling nonviolent responses to frustrations and social problems, encouraging thought responses such as humor and relaxation

cooperation and shared goals across groups reduce inter-group hostility

crack down on small acts of vandalism, reward pro-social behavior

reducing violence: media

government censorship, not too popular

use public pressure to increase media self-censorship, commercial boycott, education

reducing violence: intimate violence

rape myth busting education, sex education programs that emphasize the desirability of being respectful and considerate toward one's sexual partner are important tools in reducing sexual aggression

preventing and treating alcohol abuse, laws and programs that protect victims of abuse, effective communication (jealousy, distrust)

association between poverty and child mal-treatment, provide educational and employment opportunities

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