- Mental Health
How are you Affected by Aggression
Aggression is Every Where
Aggression Affects Many People Around the World
There is no universally agreed upon definition of aggression.
One of the more common ones used by social psychologists, that it is any form of behavior that is intended to harm an individual.
To either injure some person, oneself, or an object.
To test whether you can identify other aggressive actions based on this definition, read the following vignette and try to identify five acts of aggression.
A thief fires a gun at a man he trying to rob, but the bullet misses the mark and the man is uninjured.
Panicked, the man accidentally knocks down a young girl as he flees the scene, and she badly cuts her knee on the pavement.
Later, the girl screams in pain as a doctor puts five stitches in her knee to stop the bleeding.
Upon finishing, the doctor asks the girl how badly it hurts. Still crying and now very angry, she grabs his mustache and yanks with all her might and sneers, ''That's how much it hurts!''
The next day, the thief is arrested and his cellmate verbally betrayers him for being such an inept burglar.
Depressed ad angry, the thief smashes his fist into the concrete cell wall, fracturing three fingers.
While in the infirmary being treated for his injury the thief angrily destroys a medicine cabinet.
Can you correctly identify the five aggressive acts in this injury-filled story?
What about the thief shooting but missing his intended victim?
No harm, no aggression.
Even though the bullet missed its mark, this is still an aggressive action because it was the intention of hurting the child or anyone else.
Neither is the behavior of the doctor treating the girl's wound an aggressive action.
Although his actions caused pain and he performed those actions intentionally, the goal was to help the girl recover from her previous injury.
The man and the doctor did not perform any aggressive actions, the little girl did. In pulling the doctor's moustache, she intentionally tried to seek retribution for the hurt she believed he caused.
What about the thief's cellmate?
The psychological harm intended in such verbal abuse qualified this aggressive action. The fourth instance of aggression involved the prisoner’s self- inflicted injury; intentional actions that cause harm to one are considered aggressive, even if they are impulsive.
Finally, aggression can be directed against inanimate objects, as was when the thief destroyed the medicine cabinet.
An intentional use of harmful behavior to an individual can achieve some other goal. In the robbery attempt, the thief used aggression as an instrument to achieve his real goal, which was obtaining the victim's money.
The aggression that occurs in a military context is also often instrumental in nature. Here the principal goal may be either to defend one's own territory or to confiscate the enemy's land.
As a general rule, aggressive acts carried out with the objective of gaining material, psychological, or social benefits all fit our instrumental definition.
Triggered by anger, and the goal of the intentionally harmful behavior is simply to cause injury or death to the victim. To kill those who had angered you. The aggressor’s principal goal is to cause injury to another person or thing.
In thinking about instrumental and hostile aggression, it is important to keep in mind how they differ.
Instrumental aggression is motivated by the anticipation of rewards or the avoidance of punishment.
In that sense, it can be thought of as being relatively deliberate and rational. On the other hand, hostile aggression is not really motivated by the anticipation of rewards or the avoidance of punishment. Even though these may indeed be ultimate consequences of the aggressive act.
Instead, this type of aggression is often impulsive and irrational.
There is a goal but it is simply the desire to cause harm to the victim.
Instrumental aggressor tends to use proactive force in a cool and collected manner to attain their objectives. Many robbers and school-yard bullies fit this category.
In contrast, hostile aggressors tend to use reactive force in a highly emotional and impulsive manner.
Their crimes often entail excessive use of violence to their tempers getting out of hand.
Hostile aggressors are, especially likely to perceive danger in their world and to respond to ambiguous stimuli with aggression.
Instrumental and hostile aggression is often useful many aggressive actions cannot be neatly placed into only one of the categories:
A child may angrily hit another child who has taken her favorite toy, and then she may retrieve the toy while the victim cries.
The motives underlying this aggression are both the infliction of pain (hostile aggression) and the recovery of the favored toy (instrumental aggression).
In such instances, no clear distinctions can be made between hostile and instrumental aggression.
In other instances, aggression might start out instrumentally, yet then turn hostile.
Like a soldiers cool and methodical firing of a weapon at a hidden enemy may turn into impulsive rage when one of his comrades is killed.
Gender and Personality Moderate the Expression of Aggression
Some people tend to be more prone to aggressive outbursts than others.
It is believed that men are more aggressive than women; the answer to this is both yes and no.
Males and females do differ in one important kind of aggression: physical aggression.
A male is more likely to engage in aggression that produces pain or physical injury.
A gender difference in willingness to cause physical injury is more pronounced.
In contrast men and women are very similar to one another in their verbal aggression. and in expressing feelings of anger.
Gender differences are considerably smaller than what gender stereotypes suggest, women and men do appear to have different social representations of their physical aggression.
Women tend to view their aggression as being stress-induced and precipitated by a loss of self-control that erupts into an antisocial act.
Their expressions of aggression were uniformly seen as a negative experience.
Perceived aggression is a means of exerting control over others and reclaiming power and self-esteem. Unlike women, men often believed that resorting to physical violence was a positive experience or way of thinking.
Physical aggression may mean that the more spontaneous and unplanned behaviors typical of hostile aggression are more descriptive of the antisocial actions of women.
While the more planned and calculated actions of instrumental aggression are more descriptive of male aggression.
A form of social manipulation whereby, the aggressor attempts to harm another person without a face-to-face encounter.
Gossiping, spreading bad, or false stories about someone. When telling others not to associate a person, and revealing someone's secrets are examples of indirect aggression, and are more likely than boys to use indirect aggression.
The three personality traits most consistently related to aggression are irritability, the tendency to explode at the slightest provocation.
Rumination, individuals tend to keep feelings of anger following provocation.
The emotional susceptibility, one feels uneasy to experience feelings of discomfort and inadequacy.
Highly aggressive people have a hard time controlling their emotions: they not only have quick tempers, but they also stew in their own angry juices following a confrontation.
Aggression is one means by which some people seek to maintain or restore their self-esteem.
For many years, it was thought that only low self-esteem individuals were susceptible to these types of aggressive outbursts.
However, it now appears that aggression is more commonly a result of threats to highly favorable views of the self. It is most likely to occur when a person’s high self-esteem is fragile and unstable.
Apparently, in these instances, aggression is a defensive reaction to avoid having to make any downward revision of self-esteem.
Biological Factors Influence Aggressive Behavior
Beyond focusing on how aggressive tendencies may have been shaped over hundreds of thousands of generations.
Individual aggressive tendencies are inherited and whether hormonal fluctuations influence later aggressive responses.
An example of inherited influence of aggression, twins who share exactly the same genetic material.
Identical twins, have more similar aggressive tendencies than twins who share only fifty percent of the same genes, the fraternal twins.
Parents treat identical twins more similarly than fraternal twins and thus it is difficult to distinguish between biological and environmental determinants of aggression.
Stress and nutrition can actually cause certain genes to become activated or deactivated, resulting in even identical twins not having the same active genetic makeup.
Hormones influence human aggression
People who are institutionalized for attempted suicide, self-directed aggression, or extreme aggressiveness had lower than average levels of serotonin.
A hormone that is associated with the ability to control aggressive impulses.
Some men have higher than normal levels of the hormone testosterone making them highly aggressive men.
Tennis players (males) the winners’ testosterone levels increased after a match, while losers’ hormonal levels decreased.
There is no simple casual relationship between hormone levels and aggression in humans, or other animals.
Heightened testosterone levels may make aggression more likely the same. Aggression or even non-aggressive competition may cause changes in testosterone levels.
Aggression is a reaction to negative affect
Japanese are world famous for their politeness. One notable exception to this courteous behavior is a two-hundred-year-old event that takes place just before midnight on New Year's Eve in Ashikaga, a city fifty miles north of Tokyo.
In what outsiders might consider to be a very strange festival, people walk in a procession up a dark mountain road to the Saishoji Temple, screaming curses at those who have frustrated them during the previous twelve months.
‘‘You are an idiot!''
''Give me a raise!''
''My teacher is stupid!''
Words of blame are shouted out of hostility and anger would almost never be directed at the real sources of the Japanese’s frustration, participants believe the screaming is beneficial.
Is such behavior really beneficial to people?
Does it reduce aggressive tendencies?
The Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis Asserts that Aggression is always the Product of Frustration
Frustration causes aggression
The first proposition was that frustration will always elicit the drive to attack others.
The second one, every act of aggression could be traced to some previous frustration this essentially meant that all aggression is of the hostile variety.
The third proposition, engaging in aggression causes catharsis, which is the reduction in the aggressive drive following an aggressive act.
Frustration does not always produce an aggressive drive; it can produce an inclination to show aggression when the person believes the hindrance was unfair and deliberate.
If someone catches your heel and sends you tumbling to the ground, you are less likely to hold it against them. If you believe it was an accident rather than deliberate.
Frustration the root of all aggression, but frustration is only one cause among many causes of aggression.
Catharsis reflects a common belief that people can purge themselves of powerful emotions by ''letting off steam'' or getting it off their chests,''
Generally, frustration increases aggression except when participants were told that fatigue, and emotional strain caused the clumsiness of individuals.
One should convey these feelings calmly and clearly without being harmful, but not everyone can do without harming another.
Alcohol Assumption increases the Likelihood of Aggression
Weapons can trigger aggression outbursts, in those who already angry, but alcohol assumption causes people to become more easily angered and hostile.
In many countries around the world there is a strong correlation between alcohol intoxication and a host of different types of aggression. This includes, domestic abuse, assault, rape and homicide.
Those who rink beverages which contain enough alcohol to make them legally intoxicated tend to behave more aggressively.
Or can respond strongly to provocation than do persons, who consume nonalcoholic drinks.
Why does the consumption of alcohol increase aggression?
Alcohol provides a direct biochemical stimulus to aggression. The alcohol weakens people's restraints against aggression.
When provoked people who are drunk are much less attentive than who are sober to such inhibiting cues as the provocateurs' intent. The possible negative consequences of violence.
The alcohol doesn't influence participants’ reactions to their competitors' explicit aggression or nonaggression signals. It t did interfere with their understanding of subtle aggressive signals.
You must of herd people excusing a drunken individual's verbal aggression by saying,
''It's the liquor talking.''
It indicates that the alcohol is to be blamed and he reason for misbehaving.
Aggression occurs because it has been either rewarded in the past or the aggressor has observed someone else. Being rewarded for an aggressive act and is now imitating these actions.
Exposure to television and other media violence does teach and encourage children and adults to engaging antisocial modes of conduct.
Aggression is also learned and encouraged in a culture of honor, which is a belief system that prepares men to protect their reputation by resorting to violence.
Aggression can be Controlled
What influences Hostile Aggression?
Life is what you make of it
© 2013 Devika Primić