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Describe and evaluate one social psychological theory of aggression.

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Introduction

26th September 2003 Describe and evaluate one social psychological theory of aggression. There are many different social psychological theories of aggression, one of which is the social learning theory. The social learning theory is based around observation suggesting that as well as learning by direct reinforcement and punishment which is the classic learning theory people can also learn by indirect or vicarious reinforcement which is seeing someone else reinforced or punished for a certain behaviour. This does not mean that the behaviour is copied immediately but can happen some time later. This suggests that the cognitive process is involved in the social learning of the behaviour as this is represented internally. ...read more.

Middle

However Bandura's study does lack ecological validity as it was set in artificial environments, the Bobo doll was also designed to be hit. But on the other hand Patterson et al. (1989) demonstrated that role models are important in the development of anti-social behaviour and that parents are the most important ones. This suggests that social learning is important in real life and that children who are raised in homes of high aggression, little affection, and little positive feedback are found to be very aggressive. As predicted by the social learning theory, there are cross-cultural differences in aggression and this is supported by the study by Margaret Mead (1935) ...read more.

Conclusion

Cross-cultural evidence demonstrated that aspects of aggression are innate and twin studies have also provided evidence of the importance of genetic factors. The social learning theory can account for individual and cultural variation in aggression but it is unlikely that learning accounts for all aggressive behaviour. In nearly every society men are more aggressive than women. Twin studies indicate genetic differences in aggression, suggesting that the social learning theory may have underestimated the role of biological factors in determining aggressive behaviour. Other theories include Excitation-Transfer Theory which does not account for individual differences and cultural variations and only accounts for a small amount of aggression. Relative Deprivation Theory which is limited as it does not give an explanation to why people feel aggressive. Deindividuation which does not account for all aggression and lacks consistency. ...read more.

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