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Outline and evaluate two social psychological theories of aggression. Two social psychological theories of aggression are deindividuation and the social learning theory

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Introduction

Outline and evaluate two social psychological theories of aggression. Two social psychological theories of aggression are deindividuation and the social learning theory. Both of these help to explain why people are aggressive. Deindividuation is when people are thought to be more aggressive because of the fact that they have been deindividuated; they have had their individual identity taken away from them so they blend into society and those around them. Individuals can be deindividuated when, for example it is night time or when they are in a big crowd because they won' be easily recognisable by themselves. Studies have provided evidence that deindividuation can be an explanation for aggression. Check for example found that on an anonymous survey of male students, a third of them said that they would commit rape if they though there was no chance of them being caught. ...read more.

Middle

Deindividuation as a theory of aggression is quite valid as it does have research evidence, both of real life and lab studies to provide evidence which supports it, however it does not explain why, for example males tend to be more aggressive than females in certain situations and only gives a general explanation for why people are aggressive in certain factors e.g. if it is night time or they're in a big crowd for example. Another social psychological theory which can be used to explain aggression is the social learning theory. This theory states that aggression is not innate; instead it is learnt through imitation and copying role models in society. People can also learn to be aggressive through vicarious reinforcement where they see someone rewarded for aggressive behaviour and copy them o be aggressive then rewarded. ...read more.

Conclusion

Demand characteristics might also play a part in why the children were aggressive, as they were not told what to do, they saw how the adult behaved and just might have thought that that is what they were supposed to do. Some of the children in the study were only aggressive though after they had been offered a reward to do so, this could show that although some were not aggressive straight away, they still learnt how to be aggressive, this could show that in an situation people do imitate and copy what they see and can learn aggressive behaviour just by seeing it; through social learning. The social learning theory is good to explain aggressive behaviour, however it could be criticised because it says that all behaviours are copied, however not everyone imitates role models. This theory though, unlike deindividuation could explain why males are more aggressive than females, by copying their male role model's aggressive behaviour for example. ...read more.

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