Evolutionary Explanations of Group Display Aggression

Authors Avatar by ellouise1997hotmailcom (student)

Evolutionary explanations of Group Displays

Group displays of aggression as an adaptive response in humans can be seen between groups in sports, territory wars and cultural rituals; as well as between countries in warfare.

The fear or hate of strangers explains aggressive behaviour towards outsiders, referred as xenophobia has been used to explain aggression in sport crowds.

McDonald suggests that it would be adaptive to exaggerate negative stereotypes of outsiders as there could be a potential threat to the group’s resources like food, territory and mate selection. Therefore, being aggressive to strangers of potential threat is seen to be an evolutionary advantage.

Knowledge of xenophobia has led to real world application to minimise discrimination throughout football. For example, Scottish football have banned all singing of IRA songs leading to an overall decrease in racism consequently reducing aggression which means the approach must be real if procedures have been in place to stop this negative behaviour.

Supporting research by Podalri and Balestri found that racism was seen particularly openly and strongly among football crowds. Xenophobia increased the cultural identity of supporters by highlighting the differences between Northern and Southern Italians.  

Join now!

Foldesi’s research supports the concept of xenophobia. Foldesi (1996) found that violent displays among a small core of Hungarian football crowds led to an increase in violent and racist outbursts by spectators.

However, conflicting research by Marsh suggests football violence may not be an act of naturally selected xenophobia, but more an organised behaviour to gain peer acceptance within the group.

Aggression in response to defending territory and cultural rituals can be interpreted as adaptive. An alternative explanation for group display is territoriality and is seen as a justified protective response. This has been supported by Huntingfood et al ...

This is a preview of the whole essay