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Examine Group Display Explanations for Aggression

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Introduction

´╗┐Evolutionary Group Displays of Aggression Evolutionary approaches are based on adaptive value of group display including sports and xenophobia, lynch mobs and religion. Natural selection, favours genes that cause individual group members to be cooperative with other group members but are intolerant towards individuals who are not members of that group (Xenophobia). In particular xenophobia (suspicion of strangers) has been displayed in sports. McDonald suggests that it would be adaptive to exaggerate negative stereotypes of outsiders as there could be a potential threat to the group?s resources like food, territory and mate selection. Therefore, being aggressive to strangers of potential threat is seen to be an evolutionary advantage. Knowledge of xenophobia has led to real world application to minimise discrimination throughout football. For example, Scottish football have banned all singing of IRA songs leading to an overall decrease in racism consequently reducing aggression which means the approach must be real if procedures have been in place to stop this negative behaviour. ...read more.

Middle

They found that religious groups impose twice as many costly rituals on their members as non-religious groups, and that the number of costly rituals was positively correlated with the lifespan of the group. This supports the claim that religions that require the greatest displays of commitment produce the most committed members and so last the longest. Likewise, supporting research was conducted by Chen who found that as the Indonesian financial crisis in the 1990s worsened, Muslim families devoted far more of their remaining money to religious observance, suggesting that in times of crisis the higher costs have the reward of benefitting the neediest members of the community. This supports the idea that in close-knit communities, corporation confers benefits to group members. However, this research only supports religious aggression and no other reasons to aggression. An alternative approach of group aggression is through Lynch Mobs. Patterson claims that there was major social transition in the USA at the time following the collapse of slavery, and entire white communities felt at risk. ...read more.

Conclusion

When another culture is judged in terms of the researcher?s own culture, it creates an imposed etic. Lastly, the approach is reductionistic. No single theory seems to adequately account for group displays of human aggression. Sport and xenophobia, religion, and lynch mobs have all been suggested as causes, however many other theories may also contribute. Examples of other factors that could lead to group aggression include biological factors and personality dispositions. Deindividuation could also account for group behaviours, for example the extreme behaviours of lynch mobs could be explained as individuals losing their individual sense of responsibility and instead adopting the behaviour of the group. In deindividuation, individuals would never behave that way outside of a group setting but in a crowd they will. In conclusion, there is strong evidence for why aggression occurs in groups. However, all explanations fail to consider other approaches such as social factors. Bandura?s social learning theory suggests that aggression is caused not only by inherited factors but also environmental factors such as reproduction which is copying (aggressive) behaviour you have witnessed. This therefore means the evolutionary theory is not purely the cause of group displays of aggression. ...read more.

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