• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss whether aggression can be explained by evolutional explanations

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐Discuss whether aggression can be explained by evolutional explanations ________________ The evolutionary explanation, or instinct theory, states that aggression is an adaptive response. This response enables us to obtain resources, defend against attack, eliminate competition for mates and force sexual fidelity from mates. In 1966 Lorenz stated that there were four main drivers behind animal aggression; fear, reproduction, hunger and anger. He also stated that aggression could occur only within a species not across two different species. Lorenz discussed that aggression between two animals is often ritualised. Ritualised aggression itself is aggressive, but little harm actually comes to either animal. This theory is backed up by Morris in 1990, he found that animal disputes show a lot of restraint, this restraint is called an appeasement tactic e.g. dogs show their belly when they feel threatened to stop the opponent from taking the fight any further. The evolutionary approach to aggression states that there are four aims of aggression; to win or control territory, increasing solidarity between males and females, becoming and maintain a dominant role and natural selection through survival of the fittest. ...read more.


Buss and Duntley (2006) said that humans have evolved adaptations through natural selection to produce what we now call murder. They discussed how if murder is used is determined by four factors; the degree of relatedness between killer and victim, the relative status of killer and victim, the sex of killer and victim and the size and strength of the killer?s and victim?s alliances. In order to evolve as a strategy it must have been associated with greater reproductive success than conflicting strategies. Wilson and Daly in 1985 said that sexual jealousy, lack of resources and threats to male status are all reasons for murder to occur. Wilson and Daly support both their prior study and the study by Buss and Duntley by over viewing the Detroit murders of 1972. They found that the motive behind most of the killings, both killers and victims were unemployed, unmarried and young, low status without a mate. The problem with Buss, Duntley, Wilson and Daly?s research is that is says the act of murder is determined by our evolutionary ...read more.


Similarly, Contagion theory can also explain group aggression; people are influenced by the way a group acts. The individuals do not need to think similarly, they conform to the behaviour of one ?bad egg.? Smelser (1963) argued that social life and its processes affect how individuals behave. This is weakness of the evolutionary theory; aggression is not only affected by our genes it is also affected by our social learning and environment. Smelser also argued that six things are necessary for a social movement to emerge. Structural conduct and if people realise their society has a problem, if society fails to meet expectation and deprives the people, growth and spread of an explanation, if one event triggers a reaction from a crowd, mobilisation for action where people distribute information about a cause and finally a lack of social control leads to a protesting crowd. In conclusion, the instinct theory can explain aggression; the only problem is it doesn?t take into account factors such as culture and it completely ignore the fact that we could learn to be aggressive through social learning. So overall a mixture of different explanations is needed to explain aggression. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Social Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Social Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Preventing and Reducing Crime

    3 star(s)

    He also failed to recognise that correlation does not imply causality as there was no relation between the two and he ignored social and psychological factors. Also, other factors such as poverty and deprivation produced the physical defects he noticed, rather than them being the result of genetic transmission.

  2. Mate Selection and Preferences Across Decades

    mate, and "female" characteristics, attributes, and concerns, such as nurturance and presenting an attractive appearance will be valued more by men than by women (Berscheid & Regan, 1997, p. 354). The second theory of evolution proposes that human mating stems from past centuries that affected our hunter-gatherer forebears (Berscheid & Regan, 1997).

  1. Is Three A Crowd?

    Introduction the purpose of this study is to investigate the subject of crowding and how uncomfortable an individual feels when they re approached by one/two experimenters. There have been many studies supporting that an individual feels more uncomfortable when two people are walking towards them as opposed to one.

  2. To what extent are individual influenced by the majority and how can this be ...

    Many of these participants did conform but experienced enormous discomfort as a result, plainly suffering from the contrast between their own perceptions and the perceptions of others. The pattern is different in collectivist cultures. Here, individuals are much less distresses about conforming even when it means being wrong.

  1. Mirror Neurons and Discuss evolutionary explanations of human aggression.

    the fMRI date also support the view that partly distant neural mechanisms are used when different visual perspective are taken., The model does seem to offer a sound biological explanation of our ability to understand others. Methods: the fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) technique is unable to measure specific neurons.

  2. Examine Group Display Explanations for Aggression

    Another limitation of sport studies is it only accounts for aggressive behaviour at sports events and doesn?t explain aggressive behaviour elsewhere. However, research into religious rituals provides an alternative explanation.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work