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perspectives in psychology essay

In psychology aggression is an on going debate, to whether it is a learnt behaviour from our environment and our surroundings or on the other hand are we born with it, is it in our instinct to be aggressive.

Believed that both animal and humans survived by having aggressive instincts to protect their young and terrority by this ensuring that only the strongest survived.

Sociologists believe that because in the world some where there is a war happening almost all of the time, that we have inherited an aggressive nature and that it’s becoming the normal approach to lash out at things that get in our way because we feel the need to control and dominate more.

In 1966 a man called Charles Whitman shot his wife, mother and 14 other people before turning the gun on him self, on autopsy doctors found a tumour in the limbic system in his brain. This is the part of the brain where aggression is found in animals. Also other research carried out on repeat offenders of aggression found that they had abnormal EEG’s so this suggests aggression is a psychical trait.

Factors which point to a biological cause are high male hormone levels and PMT in women that causes mood swings and violent behaviour in women, also the virus which causes rabies in humans when infected does cause violent behaviour.

Instinct, hormones, heredity and brain dysfunction aggression comes from these without any environmental influences. Some theories suggest that aggression is in us all and is just waiting to be released in someway which varies from person to person. But also there is clear evidence that alcohol an environmental factor does make people aggressive.

If you observe human nature and emotions it appears that certain circumstances and actions from others seem to make us mad, when we are hurt, insulted, cheated, deceived or made fun of, all of these things arouse anger and aggression. (Byrne & Kelley 1981) and distrustful people tend to have more of these experiences. Some theorists believe that anger is a result of being frustrated about something in our lives which makes us feel not in control of the situation and the only way we can deal with it is letting this out in the form of aggression. This form is called frustration-aggression hypothesis. Ethnologists see aggression as an instinct and the only way to try and control and deal with this is to try and channel the aggressive feeling in some way such as doing sport to try and release any feelings of aggression, but research as shown that this actually increases the feelings of aggression so this theory is limited.

The St Helena project which took place on an island where television was introduced for the first time in 1995, showed even if the children watched aggression in the programmes showed they did not necessarily act out any aggressive behaviour when playing together afterwards. The St Helena team suggest that it is that social support and society today and how we live play a role in how people behave and how they channel their aggression.

Everyone behaves in ways that are likely to provide reinforcement and any different behaviour is what the individual as learnt through growing up and experiences that have happened in their lives. Emotional upset and up setting experiences in their lives will affect how a person deals with aggression. The Bandura experiment with the bobo doll showed that children who saw a role model being aggressive were more than likely copy and act aggressive as well. However the children in this experiment showed that they only acted aggressively in certain situations and this in turn showed that the behaviour was learned by the children.

The draw back from this study though is that it took place in artificial laboratory conditions and this kind of behaviour may not happen in a real environment such as the home.

The reason to why people behave aggressively in any way, are numerous and many sources as the learned theory in what we see and learn is how we behave towards others. If people around us behave aggressive does that stimulate the people around them to behave in such away? Or is it an instinct and energy in us all but we all release it and deal with it in different ways. What ever the factors that influence aggression in humans, there is no single underlining cause all the studies that have taken place can not point to one single influence on its own. Many things make us aggressive our social surroundings do influence how we behave towards each other and how other people interact with each other does all point to the social learning theory and how we have been brought up in the family. But this could also be an environmental factor and how it affects the individual and their behaviour in difficult and emotional situations.

Biological factors also play an apart in aggressive behaviour such as disease and hormones which are known to affect our moods. Aggressive behaviour is interlinked with all these influences and factors and affect each and everyone person differently and how that person deals with the situation that maybe facing them in their life at that time.

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