Aggression & Situation centered

May 25, 2018 Psychology

Aggression is the behavior which is intended to hurt others through commission or failure to attend to certain issues. In psychology, aggression also known as combativeness is a behavioral conduct that aims at inflicting pain to other individuals. Aggression has a variety of forms which can either be verbal, physical or mental.

There is a very big difference between aggression and assertiveness although a number of individuals use the two terms interchangeably. Aggression can be categorized into two that is hostile, relatiotory or affective aggression and goal-oriented, instrumental or predatory aggression. The two categories of aggression are different in correspondence to physiological and psychological issues.

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People with hostile aggression are usually impulsive with low IQ than individuals with tendencies towards goal oriented aggression. Men have high chances of expressing aggression by means of physical violence than women who express their aggression through nonphysical means.

Aggression is always considered anti-social but it has characteristic features of prosocial. In the former case, it means a situation which upholds rules regarding to affairs in the society. A practical situation to illustrate the difference between antisocial and prosocial forms of aggression is the case of a bank robber and police. In this case, the robber engages in an activity that results to antisocial aggression while the police engage in prosocial aggression by arresting the bank robber.

Certain factors are considered to be the root cause of aggression which includes first, frustration whereby aggression increases in a situation where an individual feels blocked from achieving certain goals. Second, presence of violent objects such as guns is considered to be possible causes of aggression.

This happens as a result of increase in related stimulus which leads to activation of semantic network making it possible for the victim to use any object around him or her. Third, pain and discomfort result to increased aggression which results from increase in temperatures. Fourth, military experience is a potential cause of aggression as the service men are trained in matters relating to violence, aggression, and murder.

A number of aggression theories have been developed to explain the human behavior which hurts another individual. The classification of aggression theory falls in three main categories which include personal centered, situation centered and interactionist.

Personal centered theoretical perspectives involve psychoanalytic theory and ethological view. Situation centered which is a perspective of environmental or behavioral consideration constitutes of frustration-aggression hypothesis, general arousal or excitation transfer model of aggression, social learning theory, and revised frustration –aggression hypothesis.

The final classification of aggression falls under interactive theories which include attribution and social learning theory. Others include cue-arousal theory, drive theory, instinct theory, general aggression model (GAM), and relative deprivation theory. Relative deprivation theory of aggression applies in a situation whereby individual feel that they deserve more than what is at their disposal. In this situation, the individuals turn out being frustrated hence they become aggressive.

This occurs in cases when individuals compare their position with others. It is often seen in the cases of improved conditions while expectations are in the increase but they are not achievable.

Situation centered

In this classification the major emphasis is on the role of arousal that results from the occurrence of certain situation or event which results to aggression. It is believed that any kind of arousal results to aggression depending on the surrounding circumstances that leads to occurrence of such a situation. A major consideration in this case is general arousal also known as excitation transfer model of aggression.  Excitation –transfer theory suggests that arousal resulting from a given situation can be transferred to another situation. One major criticism about excitation –transfer theory is the assumption that aggressive acts occur without critical thinking.

The criticism is about the occurrence of acts in a calculating manner but this was revised to meet cognitive processes. Another category in the class of situation centered is frustration –aggression hypothesis. As the name suggests, it is concerned with frustration as the root cause of aggression. In this case frustration is defined as failure to achieve a certain goal which results to arousal leading to harm.

The aggressive drive results to aggression behavior which emerges due to interference of circumstances to achievement of certain goals. According to the proposer of the theory Dollard, frustration is deemed to cause aggression in the event that aggressive behavior results to elimination of frustration.

 However, frustration does not amount directly to aggression but there are certain circumstances which lead to occurrence of frustration thus ending up in aggression.  Berkowitz’s revised the frustration –aggression hypothesis theory to reflect internal emotional state and conditions of the surrounding environment. He argued that frustration alone can not result to aggression. The common feature about frustration and aggression according to Berkowitz’s was the consideration of frustrating experience which resulted to aggression.


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