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Anger and Aggression in Males and Females

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Introduction

EXTENDED ESSAY CANDIDATE NAME: Michaela Stovickov´┐Ż CANDIDATE NUMBER: 000771 - 030 SUBJECT: Psychology RESEARCH QUESTION: The link between anger and aggression : do they feed one another? WORDCOUNT: YEAR: 2005/2006 CANDIDATE NUMBER: 000771 - 030 ABSTRACT Anger and aggression, though at the first glance similar issues, are two distinctive phenomena. What is the link between them and is it legitimate to claim that they feed one another? Anger is an internal state, a negative emotion. Aggression is a negative behavior intended to hurt others. One link is when anger motivates aggressive act or when aggressive act provokes anger in a victim. Another association is that aggressive act is often mislead with the expression of anger: Behavior driven by anger does not need to be intended to hurt but may seem so, and subsequently, act can be only called aggressive if having the intention to hurt. Factors managing the expression of anger and aggression turn out to be biological determinants and social norms. In conclusion, social norms in the given society have much greater influence on expressions of anger and aggression. For better examination of these norms, gender differences are of interest. The most pervasive norm claims that men are more angered and more aggressive than women. This stereotype turns out to be a myth. However, this mythic stereotype, as implemented in the social norms, creates double standard in gender differences for expression of anger and aggression. CANDIDATE NUMBER: 000771 - 030 CONTENTS Abstract..........................................................................................................................................................................................2 Contents..........................................................................................................................................................................................3 Introduction.................................................................................................................................................................................4 Defining anger and aggression..........................................................................................................................................5-6 Origins of anger and aggression.......................................................................................................................................7-8 Gender differences in expression of anger and aggression..............................................................................9-12 Conclusion....................................................................................................................................................................................13 Bibliography.................................................................................................................................................................................14 CANDIDATE NUMBER: 000771 - 030 INTRODUCTION Anger and aggression are attention-grabbing societal issues of nowadays. Specifically, they may emerge as domestic violence, crowd aggression, war conflicts, and many others. To reduce their manifestations it is essential that people recognize anger and aggression origins, relations between them, and their connection with other factors such as the aggressors' motives and circumstances under which they aggress. ...read more.

Middle

It might be reasonable to assume that the gender differences in anger and aggression expressions would be significant because of the social norms, which seem to differ for males and females. Specifically, the findings, which indicate the extent to which men and women differ in particular aspects of their emotions, behaviors, etc. will be considered. The stereotype about expressions of anger and aggression in males and females includes the notion that males are more aggressive than females. To support that this stereotype does have a significant impact on the perception of males and females, a multination study done by Williams and Best (1990, in Burn, 1996) examined a great amount of various personality traits of males and females as percieved by subjects of the study. Men were attached such qualities as aggressive and the like in more then 23 countries out of 25 (Williams and Best, 1990 in Burn, 1996) . Women were reffered as submissive, weak, and related characteristics in more then 23 countries out of 25 (Williams and Best, 1990 in Burn, 1996). A traditional account of aggression assumed that men have always been aggressive because of God's design and/or biological determinants (White and Kowalski, 1994). However, new theories began with the premise that the underlying motivation for aggression and processes of acquiring aggressive behavior are the same for women and men, but that gender-related factors affect the quantity and quality of the expressed behavior. These theories were formulated to account for instance of male aggression and thus their perspective ignores a wide range of aggressive behaviors and perpetuates myths about female aggression. Similarly, contemporary psychoanalytic theories suggest that women and men possess the same drives and impulses, but differ exclusively in how drives and aggressive impulses are worked through and expressed. Thanks to this evidence, the stereotype that males aggress more than females has been sustained. Sex-specific explanations of female aggression begin with the assumption that normal women are non-aggressive because of innate characteristics (White and Kowalski, 1994). ...read more.

Conclusion

Moreover, another double standard implies that men are not always being expected to be more aggressive than women since in private women are supposed to exert more aggressive acts than men. Thus, not all the social contexts demand the same division of roles. CANDIDATE NUMBER: 000771 - 030 CONCLUSION Anger and aggression could possibly have very similar manifestations. The way they can be distinguished seems to be the realization of the circumstances. It is difficult to find out if the particular negative act was intended and if, what was its motive: internal feeling anger or some other motive. All types of motives, however, seem to be underlied by the social norms rather than by biological predispositions. Both biological innateness and social learning are assumed to influence the occurrence of aggressive acts and negative behaviors driven by anger. All in all, evidence and deeper analysis indicate that social learning has much greater impact on these expressions than biological determinants. Although, biology cannot be overlooked. Social learning as an implementation of social norms into one's self-image creates differences in expression of anger and aggression between men and women. It is because social norms are different for men and for women. In another words, gender differences in expression of anger and aggression, which occur, are the reflection of social norms and expectations of the society. These double-standard expectations result in large gender differences. Furthermore, diversity between public and private realms is such that in public men are expected to be more aggressive than women whereas in private the opposite is true. Nevertheless, all the differences in expression of anger and aggression between men and women presented in this essay might only serve as historical evidence in few decades since social norms change. As in the past, women took care of the children and men worked, now, working, educated women and men on the parental leave are common phenomena. In the future, perhaps, women and men would be expected to exert same amount of aggressive acts, all in the same social contexts, and no double standard for private and public places causing divergence would exist. ...read more.

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