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Describe and evaluate research into group displays of agression

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´╗┐Evolutionary Explanation- Group Display ?Group display? refers to displays of aggressive behaviour by groups, which are described as ?three or more people gathered together for a common purpose?. By studying animals that display aggression, it is clear that this sort of display is an adaptive response that minimises actual physical contact and therefore the chances of physical injury or death. For example, the red deer stags on the Isle of Rhum conduct an innate group display, bellowing and comparing height. The information gained from this enables the stag to make an informed decision on whether it is likely to succeed in a fight. This minimises the chances of being injured or killed, and therefore maximises the stag?s breeding potential. Humans are said to display similar behaviour, an example being processions of martial might, as recently displayed by North Korea. These are aggressive displays used to exhibit military strength and armoury. These marches remind opponents of man power and machinery, as well as reassuring their own nation. ...read more.


This may explain why teams often have a noticeable home advantage, as they fight harder to defend their territory. This was evident in research conducted by Windmeyer and McGuire, studied 800 ice hockey matches. They found that aggression only occurred between teams who met frequently. This suggests that the teams who met more frequently were strongly inclined to defend their territory. This theory was also supported by Shwarz and Barkey, who concluded that sports teams win more home games due to the social support of their home supporters, suggesting that territory may be a factor in group displays. A lot of the aggressive behaviour between rival sports fans is ritualistic. Although posturing and verbal abuse occurs, there is very little violence. For example, in Fosdick and Marsh?s research, they quote a police report about a Celtic- Rangers match with a crowd of approx. 50,000, where the police made only five arrests, and that only 1.67 more arrests coincide with football nights compared to non-football nights. ...read more.


Evolutionary theories for group display are often regarded as speculative. As they cannot be falsified, they cannot be regarded as scientific theories. This may mean that the evolutionary theory does not have as much weight as ones that can be falsified, such as the social learning theory. The theory could also be regarded as deterministic. It states that we are victims of an innate need to breed, suggesting that we have no free will regarding our behaviours. There are also methodological issues with studying crowd behaviour. As crowd events occur so quickly and over such wide areas, it would be difficult and potentially dangerous to study them (Berk) Also, group displays at sports events may not be conducted as a way of communicating aggression. For example, Grieve found that identification with sports teams was psychologically important in an otherwise transient and insular society, suggesting that group display allows individuals to feel a sense of social identity. However, Dunning argued this, stating that far from being ritualistic and harmless, aggression in sports matches is violent, resulting in many deaths. There is therefore conflicting opinions regarding the evolutionary theory of group display. ...read more.

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