Anti-Social Behaviour Behaviour that is disruptive or harmful to the well-being/property of another person or to the functioning of a group or society
AGGRESSION • Any behaviour intended to case physical or psychological harm to a person (including self), animal or object. • Physical/Verbal • Subtle (e.g ignoring) • More harmful acts=violence
With reference to the psychological definition of aggression, identify which of the following behaviours could be considered to be aggressive: • Accidentally tripping someone in a basketball game. • Punching your sibling in rage. • ‘Backchatting’ a teacher. • Insulting a friend. • Watching a violent movie. • Telling a joke that someone finds offensive. • Putting someone down. • Accidentally pressing the accelerator instead of the brake and hitting a cyclist. • Starting a rumor about someone’s family. • Shooting to kill but missing. • ‘Pushing and shoving’ in the school corridor. • Deliberately ignoring someone when they ask if they can speak with you. • Giving someone a ‘dirty look’
Causes: (1) Biological Basis • Instinct theory • Genetic Influences • Neural Influences (brain & nervous system) • Biochemical Influences
Freud – aggression is basic human instinct (born with powerful tendency to harm others) Lorenz – aggression is innate & serves adaptive purpose (helps survival – can better get food, water, mates) a) Instinct Theory
BUT • Instinct Theories do not explain: • Individual differences in aggression • Differences within and across different cultures. (Data from Interpol International Crime Statistics, 2000)
b) Genetic Influences • Genetic component to aggression. • Successful attempts to breed highly aggressive strains of rats, mice & rabbits in the lab suggest that among these animals at least, individuals can inherit an aggressive tendency. • Data from studies with identical & non-identical twins (twins are identical in the characteristic of aggressiveness so strong likelihood it is inherited.) • Aggressive children grow up to be aggressive adults! Genetic influences are believed to predispose the pit bull terrier's aggressiveness.
The hypothalamus and amygdala and aggression? Animals and people act aggressively when these brain parts are stimulated. c) Neural Influences
d) Biochemical Influences • Aggression results from presences/activity of chemicals in the body: • Natural chemicals (e.g. hormones) • Ingested chemicals (e.g. Drugs & alcohol) • Males have more testosterone & are more aggressive. • Violent criminals often have high levels of testosterone. • Alcohol increases aggressive behaviour. Alcohol can cause disinhibition, which may result in a normally placid person behaving aggressively.
Causes: (2) Social Basis • When our social interactions produce strong, negative emotions (e.g. anger) we may lash out at the person/object that triggered this emotion or ‘take out’ our anger on people/objects not responsible (I.e. scapegoats). • Frustration = feeling of tension, anxiety & heightened arousal that results when we are stopped from achieving a goal.
a) Frustration-aggression hypothesis • Frustration always leads to aggression & aggression is always the result of frustration: • Whenever people are prevented from achieving a goal & are therefore frustrated, they will become aggressive. • Aggression will only occur if a person is frustrated. Road rage may occur when drivers become increasingly frustrated with other drivers who, they believe, prevent them from driving the way they wish to drive.
BUT… too simple an explanation? • Frustration can also lead to other behaviours which are ‘opposite’ to aggression (e.g. depression, withdrawal). • Aggression often the result of feelings other than frustration (e.g fear, sadness). SO… Modified hypothesis: • Frustration may result in one of the following outcomes: • Anger but no/minimal aggressive behaviour in the absence of environmental cues. • Anger that results in more extreme aggressive behaviour in the presence of environmental cues.
Membership of a large group • When in a large group or a ‘faceless crowd’, people sometimes shed their normal inhibitions and participate in acts of aggression and other types of anti-social behaviour in which they would normally not engage.
Deindividuation: loss of individuality, sense of anonymity that can occur in a group situation. Shift in attention: focus attention externally (on actions of group) rather than internally (own thoughts) Anonymity in a group: feeling invisible in a large group. E.g. a jeering crowd protects the aggressive individual footy fan from taking responsibility for threatening an umpire. b) Membership of a large group
Causes: (3) Environmental Basis • Factors in the environment can trigger aggressive behaviours. Causes: (4) Learned Basis • We learn to behave aggressively (or passively) by observing other people and their aggressive behaviour in the course of our everyday lives.