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Critically consider research into the affects of environmental stressors on aggressive behaviour.

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Introduction

Critically consider research into the affects of environmental stressors on aggressive behaviour. One type of environmental stressors is heat. Anderson suggested that the hotter regions of the world tend to have more aggression than cooler regions. Hotter years, seasons and days tend to have more incidents of violent crimes than cooler one. In support of this statement, Mcfalane found that more drivers honked their horns more in a response to a car blocking the road at a traffic light as temperature rose. Heat may have an affect on aggression because hot and uncomfortable conditions cause irritability that is prone to temper outbursts and negativity to others (Griffitt). However, Halpern found an inverted 'U' relationship between heat and aggression. This is where aggression goes up as the temperature does but then starts to fall at a certain point. Baron and Bell studied the effect of heat on aggression by seeing how willing participants were to give electric shocks. It was found that the temperature range between 33-35 degrees increased aggression. Extreme heat reduced aggression towards others, perhaps because they were stressed and did not want to add to that by causing conflict with other participants. ...read more.

Middle

The frustration was measured in terms of the length of time spent on the tasks. The results were that fewer errors were made on the word search in conditions 2 and 4 than in 1 and 3. This is because noise affected the concentration of the participants when played unpredictably in the random conditions. When the noise was fixed, the noise could be ignored or 'tuned out'. In relation to frustration, Donnerstein and Wilson 76 also showed that noise could cause aggression in a study where male participants were instructed to write an essay and was either favoured or criticised by a teacher. They were then allowed to give the teacher electric shocks whilst listening to one second bursts at either 65 decibels or at 95 decibels. It was found that more and the participants in the 95-decibel conditions administered longer shocks if they were criticised by the teacher. As the effect of a noisy environment should be compared with a quite one, another experiment was set up as before but with three different conditions whilst giving shocks. ...read more.

Conclusion

Moghaddam argued however that warmer temperatures mean more social contact, in result; people are more likely to dispute. This does not explain the increase in domestic violence in the summer as more family contact is made in winter. This shows that heat may not have affect on aggression. Baron and Bell also stated that there's also a greater correlation between the cold and aggression than with heat, which also objects the theory that heat affects aggression. There was also a contradiction to the theory that at a certain temperature, aggression falls (Halpern and Ransberger), which is known as the inverted 'U' idea. It is suggested that perhaps the heat caused people to avoid any more stress, explaining the fall of aggression at a certain temperature. Overall, it could be the negativity of the temperature that caused aggression (hot and cold) and increased social contact too but there may be confounding variables that could have caused any aggression, especially individual differences. With noise, Manstead, Glass and Donnerstein and Wilson all aggress that it can have negative affect on a persons reaction, including frustration and an increase in administering electric shocks. There can also be long-term damages to the physical response of children and quality of life (Evans). ?? ?? ?? ?? 10/05/02 ...read more.

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