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Describe and evaluate two social psychological theories into aggression.

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Q: Describe and evaluate two social psychological theories into aggression. A: Aggression is an emotive term that is very much part of our everyday difficult word to define precisely because of the various ways the word is used in everyday language. Berkowitz (1989) and Bandura (1965) said that aggressive behaviour of nonhuman animals can be explained in terms of instinctual drives, aggression in humans is the product of learning. Banduras social learning theory said that that we learnt through direct experience (classical conditioning + operant conditioning) this predicted the likelihood of someone behaving aggressively in a particular situation by their previous experience of aggressive behaviour (their own + others), how successful their aggressive behaviour was in the past and the current likelihood of their behaviour being rewarded or punished. Bandura et al. (1963) did an experiment into children learning aggression. He divided up 66 nursery school children into three groups. All three groups watched a film where an adult model kicked and punched a Bobo doll. In condition 1 the children saw the adult model being rewarded by a second adult, in condition 2 children saw a second adult telling off the adult model for the aggressive behaviour and in condition 3 the adult model was neither rewarded nor punished. ...read more.


fighting is common and some may be from good areas where violence is seen to be used as a last resort so the social norms may be different in the child's back grounds so there for they will behave differently. The Bobo doll is also not a living person so the children may react more violently as they know they are not inflicting any pain. Social learning theories of aggression rely heavily on experimental evidence and field studies of observational learning. There are, however, some methodological problems in the experiments as I have explained above in the Bandura et al experiment. Social learning explanations also account for the lack of consistency in people's aggressive behaviour, if someone is assertive at home and are submissive at work this means they are reinforced differently in the two situations. They have learned to behave differently in the two situations because assertiveness brings rewards in some context but not in another. Biological explanations of aggression have stressed factors quite unrelated to social learning. Higher levels of testosterone and premenstrual syndrome have been cited as primary causal agent in aggressive behaviour so therefore this casts doubt on aggression being a purely learnt behaviour. ...read more.


Researchers have often failed to distinguish between the effects of anonymity of those aggressed against. Manstead et al argued that anonymity among the in-group does not really reflect the reality of most crowd situations. Marsh et al (1978) did a study on football hooliganism and he found that what might appear to be an undisciplined mob on match days can actually consist of several different groups, eath with their status. By serving an apprenticeship aggression over a period of time young supporters can be promoted into a higher group and can thus continue a career in football violence. Marsh discovered in most cases this is highly ritualized so there is more verbal abuse than physical. Even though de individuation has its good points and bad points allot of it comes down to peoples personalities and the way they have been brought up as you cannot assume the behaviour is all the same of people who watch football matches so its varies from person to person but still de individuation has some very good points that are well backed up by good supporting evidence. Edd Brown ...read more.

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