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Outline and evaluate two social psychological theories of aggression

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Outline and evaluate two social psychological theories of aggression Aggression can be defined in many different ways. Bandura suggests that it is the intent to cause harm to another human being who is motivated to avoid such treatment. It can manifest itself in many different ways; these include in sport, for example, a dangerous tackle from behind in football, in the workplace, school or in other public sections such as nightclubs. In fact it has been found that alcohol, noise, crowded spaces and temperature are all influences over aggressive behaviour. For example, Baron and Bell found that aggressive behaviour increased as the temperature increased, meaning that the hotter it gets, the more aggressive a person will be. However, they also found that there was a drop off point. This means that if the temperature got too hot, for example at an unbearable point, then people weren't aggressive anymore. The first main theory of aggression is the Social Learning Theory. It was proposed by Bandura in 1961, and is based on the idea that people copy aggressive behaviour from others. ...read more.


The Social Learning Theory is helpful because it accounts for cultural and individual variation, and it helps to explain why we behave aggressively in some situations, and not others, for example with vicarious punishment and vicarious reinforcement. It is supported by a study by Bandura, which suggested that children imitate an adult's behaviour when hitting a Bobo doll. However, there is nothing to suggest that children would act the same to another child or that the effects of the aggression were long-lasting. However, there are many criticisms with the Social Learning Theory approach. For example, there are other studies which say that observational learning isn't the only thing aggression depends on. Patterson et al conducted a study on child's development of aggression and found that aggression isn't just caused by imitating others, but also by a disrupted attachment bond between a parent and child. Other causes included the fact that the parental behaviours provoked aggressiveness in children and therefore weren't from copying the parents. ...read more.


This cue could be something obvious such as a gun but could also be alcohol-related images or simply a name which observers associate with aggression. This theory is supported by Harris, who found that participants who were in a queue got more aggressive when someone pushed in front of them when they were second in the queue rather than when they were twelfth in the queue. According to the Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis, this was because the participants were closer to their goal of getting to the front of the queue. Kulik and Brown asked students to make telephone appeals for charity and told they were likely to be very successful. Frustration was created by all appeals being refused by confederates. Those students who heard an external reason for not giving to charity were less aggressive than those who heard a personality reason such as "all charito The main criticism of this theory it is an old theory, and has been developed very little. It assumes that that frustration always leads to some form of aggression and aggression always stems from frustration, but this has found not to be true. It is also vague and doesn't go into a lot of detail. ...read more.

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