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3.4- Theories of aggressionStudent produced
Instinct
Frustration-aggression
Aggressive-Cue
Social Learning
De-Individualisation
By Rory, Max and Ross
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He believed:
We all have the potential for aggressive
behaviour.
If the aggressive impulses weren’t released,
they could be directed inwards and cause
psychological damage.
Therefore need to release energy through
aggressive acts, (legal or illegal)
Legal acceptable ways- sport, adventure
Illegal ways- criminal activity, violence
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Individuals displace their aggression from ‘nonacceptable’ to ‘more acceptable’ situations:
E.g. On the sports pitch as opposed to in the
home.
This displacement and driving force is known as
‘CATHARSIS’.
It is “The release of pent-up emotions or feelings
of aggression through harmless channels, such
as the physical and emotional activity of sport”.
A cathartic experience is supposed to allow a
release of tension and emotions, resulting in the
individual feeling less aggressive.
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No biological basis for behaviour found.
Societies don’t show similar levels of aggression.
Social learning has controlling effect on people.
Studies show that aggression can be learnt.
Instinct theory states behaviour is emotional or
spontaneous ( hostile/reactive). However, times
when is clearly pre-planned (instrumental).
Examples of spontaneous and pre-planned
aggression?
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Increased interest in Instinct Theory.
Geneticists have isolated a gene that has a
controlling effect on levels of
neurotransmitters.
When the gene is absent or doesn’t work
efficiently, individuals more prone to
aggression.
Most recent debate focuses on genetic
inheritance and environmental factors…
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This theory is based on the work of
Dollard who stated that :
‘Aggressive behaviour always
presupposes the existence of frustration
and that the existence of frustration always
leads to some form of aggression.’
Frustration develops when goal directed
behaviour or a need to achieve is blocked.
 Frustration then leads to aggression.
( Levels of frustration are higher if we are
nearer to our goal , and the block is
unexpected)
 If the aggressive act is successful, frustration
is released and the aggressor feels good –
THIS IS KNOW AS A CATHARTIC RELEASE.
 Should aggression fail and result in
punishment , further frustration is generated.
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CATHARSIS:
THE RELEASE OF PENT UP
EMOTIONS OR FEELINGS
OF AGGRESSION
THROUGH HARMLESS
CHANNELS SUCH AS
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
DRIVE TO
GOAL
Winning –
sense of pride
OBSTACLE
TO GOAL
The other
team leading
CATHARSIS
SUCCESS
Causing the other team
to make a mistake leads
to own team scoring
FRUSTRATION
AGGRESSION
Chanting abuse at the
other team – pitch invasion
PUNISHMENT
The other team continue
to win
EXAMPLE:
Football crowds can become aggressive when their team starts to lose.
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Not all examples of aggressive behaviour can be
explained by this hypothesis.
For example:
-Not all individuals who experience frustration or
blockage exhibit aggressive responses or behaviour.
-Individuals who become aggressive when frustrated
do not do so on every occasion; they can find
alternative ways to deal with their frustration.
-Individuals display aggression even when there is no
obvious obstacle to cause frustration.
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However, it is not thought that all aggressive acts are
cathartic , and in some cases lead to an increase in
levels of aggression in those who commit them.
> More criticisms of the frustration
aggression hypothesis:
1. Premeditated aggression
2. Not all frustration leads to aggression
3. Doesn’t allow instinctive reactions
4. Aggression can be learnt
• Theory proposed by Leonard Berkowitz that acts of aggression are influenced by
the presence of socially learnt cues or environmental situations, which make
committing aggression acceptable.
• E.g. football hooligan swearing while watching a match
• Much of the personal aggression people feel is absorbed through social events,
films, news and newspapers.
• The theory was developed as a result of criticisms of the frustration-aggression
theory. Berkowitz stated that although obstacles can lead to frustration, arousal
and anger, this does not always lead to aggression. Acts of aggressive behaviour
are learned cues from certain stimuli.
Aggressive cues present
Increase arousal
frustration
Increased likelihood of
aggressive action
No aggressive cues
present
Less likelihood
of aggression
• In sporting context, these social cues of aggression may be given from a
coach and the crowd to act aggressively.
• Another stimuli might be a positive response from teammates to an act of
aggression that resulted in a beneficial movement/action.
• Seeing role models act aggressively in a similar situation to you can alter your
aggressive tendencies.
 Other Stimuli include:
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Aggression-related objects e.g. guns, boxing gloves and bats
Aggression-related sports e.g. rugby or boxing
Aggression-related people e.g. specific player, coach or fan
Aggression-related place e.g. a pitch where an incident had previously occurred
It is known that environmental conditions can trigger aggression. For example;
high temperatures and humidity can act as a cue for aggression.
It is clear that Berkowitz’s research has shown players can learn to be aggressive,
or learn to be aggressive in certain (expectable situations)
This leads on to SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY OF AGGRESSION…
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Link to follow…
Social Learning Theory
Jamie and Ben
DE-INDIVIDUALISATION
By Matt and Archie
BASICS
According to this theory, in certain social situations, individuals will act
differently when in a crowd than they would as an individual.
For example, watching a football match, an individual might chant, or swear
within a crowd, but not when alone.
FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE
Size of crowd
Group influence, people you’re with or place in stand.
Loudness
Perception
Locus of control
CAUSES
De-individualisation will cause the individual to not take responsibility for
their actions.
They become desensitised.
The use of masks causes an individual to become de-individuated.
Players might act differently on the pitch, than off the pitch.
LINKS TO HOOLIGANISM
This theory links to de-individuation, in the sense that individuals within a
crowd may conform to hooliganism, even if they’re not hooligans themselves.
The main character from Green Street is a student of Harvard college in
America studying journalism. In his world, on his own, he’d never attempt a
whirlwind punch.
GreenStreet
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_tqt4GCqCk

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