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Social Psychological Theories of Aggression: The Big Brother Assignment

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Social Psychological Theories of Aggression: The Big Brother Assignment With increasing violence in the Big Brother House I have been asked to create a report that explains this violence occurring in the Big Brother House in terms of two or more social psychological theories. In general the violence in the big brother house is escalating and theories need to be brought to the attention of the media bosses in order to explain this aggression. The violence does not need to be stopped as the house mates are not breaking any of the Big Brother rules behaving in this manner. Violence on this show can not be viewed as a negative aspect as it increases the number of viewers. However it does need to be explained logically. One explanation could be the Social Learning Theory. In order for such learning to take place a person must observe persons behaviour and imitate this in the future. The concept of identification is also important as the individual is more likely to imitate some he/she identifies with, in this case it could be another house mate or perhaps previous contestants on the Big Brother show. For this there are three stages * The Registration Stage, where the observer must pay attention to the model. ...read more.


2. Also that the harm is caused by or explained in terms of the behaviour of other people So if the media is to blame why isn't all of society acting aggressive, and not just out housemates? The main answer is that most of the media (not including news bulletins which have around 1%) have between 37 and 80% non aggressive incidents within a typical programme, documentary or article. This then means that the Big Brother contestants that are behaving aggressively see the same percentage of aggression within the media as the non-aggressive contestants. Which leads to the next question, why are they all not behaving quite similar? Well I believe there has to be an underlying factor that changes the level of aggression shown by different people, as we are all exposed to the same amount of violence in the media. I believe that comes in the form of relative deprivation. This proposes that the cause of a conflict is the unacceptable discrepancy between what people think they have a right to expect, and what people (given current social conditions) are actually able to obtain. In the case of the Big Brother aggression the relative deprivation theory offers an explanation which is based on the contrast between groups' expected and actual access and prosperity to power. ...read more.


Berkowitz '72 claimed that frustration due to perceived relative deprivation could incite aggression. In today's society (like the Big Brother Household) relative deprivation can be felt more prominently in a modern society where there are a lot more daily items that are needed or can be take for granted e.g. alcohol or fast food. The frustration aggression hypothesis which leads on from the relative deprivation theory states that frustration always leads to aggression and aggression is always caused by frustration. This explanation can be classed as social-psychological and psychoanalytic. Dollard et al '39 proposed that the pursuit of personal goals involves the arousal of psychic energy. In the case of the Big Brother contestants personal goals would involve daily tasks and placing people up for eviction. When we attain these goals the energy is released, and when we fail or the goal is blocked (for e.g. the person put up for eviction is not evicted) then the energy becomes built-up (frustration). This must be released and so Dollard suggested that it was via aggression. This then parallels with Freud's explanation of aggression in which a person becomes aggressive from frustration and this anger is projected onto other, less powerful people or objects (scapegoat theory). The projection is a way of protecting a person's ego from self-aggression. This projected aggression in a confined area with other people that share that same space leads to arguments and (as a result) aggression within the Big Brother house. 1 ...read more.

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