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'Describe and evaluate research into the effects of two or more environmental stressors on aggressive behaviour.'

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Introduction

'Describe and evaluate research into the effects of two or more environmental stressors on aggressive behaviour.' Research into aggression and the environment have centred on three main areas of the environment. These areas are noise, Temperature and Crowding. I shall be discussing these three areas and reviewing their validity. The first area is crowding. Crowding states that aggressive behaviour occurs when a person becomes part of a collective group of people and therefore loses there inhibitions, effectively becoming deindividuated and this then may lead to aggressive behaviour taking place. Deindividuation can occur when a person is part of a crowd or when the person's identity is disguised. There are studies to support this theory that aggressive behaviour may be caused by crowds / crowding. One study is by Cox et al. (1984) who researched prison conditions and found a correlation between density and violence. When density was reduced by 30%, there was a 60% decrease in violence in the prison. ...read more.

Middle

This perspective is supported by the Sociobiological theory which states that every animal must try to maximise its fitness, even if this involves being aggressive for food or resources. This theory is hard to prove or disprove as there have been no studies into this theory and therefore it is personal opinion as to whether this theory is correct or not. Another explanation of aggressive behaviour and environmental factors is temperature. Temperature states that when at times of high temperature, violence increases also. People may become frustrate by the hot weather and this leads to aggressive behaviour. This is again supported by Dolards 'frustration aggression hypothesis'. More supporting evidence is found by the 'US riot commision report' of 1968 which found that all but one riots in 1967 happened when temperature was above 27 OC. Goranson and King (1970) also showed that riots were more likely to occur in hot summers. Baron (1976) ...read more.

Conclusion

Non-aggressive people did not become aggressive by the noise. The key study into noise and aggression is by Donnerstein & Wilson (1976). They asked male participants to write a short essay which was then evaluated by a confederate, who marked them in a favourably (non-angered condition) or critically (angered condition). The participants were then asked to administer electric shocks to the confederates who had marked their essay. They were also exposed to bursts of high-density noise. Participants in the angered condition were much more likely to give more and longer shocks if they heard the noise than those who did not. Participants in the non-angered condition were unaffected by the noise. This study provides some, but not many explanations into noise and aggression. It does not explain why people who were not already angered did not react in an aggressive manner to the noise. It appears to show that noise onl releases already stored anger in a person and does not create anger in itself. This research shows that there is a correlation but there is no link between cause and effect. ...read more.

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