Social psychological theories of aggression

AQA A-Level Psychology A: Aggression

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Social psychological theories of aggression by Mind Map: Social psychological theories of aggression

1. Social Learning Theory - Bandura (1963)

1.1. Attention

1.1.1. Affected by the role model: a similar age and the same gender will be most effective. Role models in a position of power (i.e. pop idol, teachers and parents) are also effective. There must be a certain level of self efficacy.

1.2. Retention

1.3. Reproduction

1.3.1. Affected by negative or positive reinforcement displayed by the model

1.3.1.1. Bandura et al (1963) - Ps were least aggressive when role model was punished

1.4. Motivation (to reproduce again)

1.5. Bandura, Ross and Ross (1961) - 72 child participants - condition 1: aggressive model, same gender, condition 2: non-aggressive model, same gender, condition 3: aggressive model, opposite gender, condition 4: non-aggressive model, opposite gender, condition 5: control group, no interaction - teacher and experimenter observed and rated children a 'level of aggressiveness' - adult and child enter a playroom, adult aggressively (physical and verbal) plays with bobo doll then leaves - child moved into a separate playroom with lovely toys but quickly moved into another playroom to create frustration - new playroom contains aggressive (bobo doll) and non aggressive toys - children who witnessed aggressive model were far more likely to reproduce the behaviour, if the role model was the same gender the probability increased significantly.

1.5.1. Experimental method - articifial settings - lacks mundane realism

1.5.2. Only performed in one culture so other potential cultural influences were ignored

1.5.3. demand characteristics

1.5.4. Bobo was a toy intended to be punched so knowledge of this could have influenced the child's behaviour

1.5.5. Lack of informed consent

1.6. Evaluation

1.6.1. Combines social and cognitive through reciprocal determinism

1.6.2. High face validity since it explains why children might copy pop stars

1.6.3. Bandura's research has focused society's attention on the power of the media, not just on aggression but also health - explains the development of eating disorders

1.6.4. Imposed etic - assumes that people in all cultures behave the same

1.6.5. Deterministic - no active decision

1.6.6. Aggressive behaviour might not be due to imitation alone - build up of frustration or presence of environmental cues

1.6.7. Ignores the biological approach which has high validity

1.6.8. Little consideration of environmental factors i.e. overcrowding, temperature and noise.

2. Deindividuation

2.1. The loss of one's sense of identity. This could be because of a mask which disguises the face therefore they are less identifiable - crowds have the same effect - this reduces the individual's inhibitions as there is less likely to be blamed for the consequences of their behaviour - so there is a change in the normal standards of behaviour. Sensory overload and altered states of consciousness can also lead to deindividuation.

2.1.1. Zimbardo (1969) - female undergraduates - 'study of learning' - stooge student - Ps played 'teacher' and had to electrocute stooges if they completed tasks incorrectly - condition 1: Ps wearing lab coats and hoods to cover their faces, never referred to by name - condition 2: normal clothes, referred to by name and worse name tags - deindividuated Ps gave twice as many electric shocks.

2.1.2. Diener (1979) - US children - naturalistic observation - on halloween when children were in large groups or wearing costumes that disguised their identity, they were more likely to perform antisocial actions such as stealing sweets or money.

2.1.3. Silke (2003) - analysis of 500 violent attacks in northern ireland- 206 of the attacks were carried out by people who wore disguise to hide their identitity - severity of violent incidents was linked to weather the perpetrator was masked or not.

2.1.4. Malamuth and Check (1981) - 1/3 male students admitted they would commit rape if there was no chance of identification

2.2. Evaluation

2.2.1. Does not explain why not all crowds or groups perform aggressive acts

2.2.1.1. Gergen et al (1973) - 6 men and 6 women were take into a dark room for an hour, others taken into lit room (control group) - given no instructions from experimenter - after 15 mins in the dark room , Ps were generally polite and social, but by 60 minutes the normal barriers to intimate contact had been overcome - most participants 'got physical', at least half cuddled, about 80%of the group felt sexually aroused.

2.2.2. Computer-mediated communication can cause deindividuation - so this theory provides an explanation for cyberbullying and internet trolls.

2.2.3. to simply suggest that the cause of aggressive behaviour is due to deindividuation is somewhat narrow - could be due to many other factors

3. Cue arousal - Berkowitz and LePage (1967)

3.1. There needs to be a cue or stimulus to spark the aggressive behaviour e.g. knife or gun

3.2. Berkowitz and LePage (1967) - 100 American students - P placed in an adjoining room to stooge who would administer mild electric shocks - Ps told that the no of electric shocks was based on their performance on a problem solving task - P and stooge would swap positions - condition 1: received one electric shock (not angry) and in net room would see a badminton set - condition 2: multiple shocks (more angry) and in next room would see a gun on the table - Ps in condition 2 administered more electric shocks to the stooge and made them last longer.

3.2.1. Artificial environment - could lead to demand characteristics

3.2.2. In subsequent replications no contant trends have been established

3.2.3. Consequentiality - perhaps the study was effected by the knowledge that it was 'just an experiment'- there would be no consequences of the Ps actions as they weren't serious or permanent.

3.3. Evaluation

3.3.1. Ignores the importance of individual differences

3.3.2. Lack of support

3.3.3. Reductionist - ignores cognitive and biological influences

4. Relative Deprivation - Stouffer (1950)

4.1. On group can see what the other groups have and they believe they should have access to those things e.g. wages, housing or job opportunities/security etc - a conscious comparison generates feelings of difference which can be seen as the basis for further antisocial behaviour.

4.2. Evaluation

4.2.1. There are many examples of riots that came about as a result of inequalities between groups and people e.g. Brixton riots in 1981.

4.2.2. Union groups which campaign for better working situations e.g pay based on comparison with the pay of others.

4.2.3. Says very little about what we decide to compare ourselves with - there are clear cognitive processes at work but relative deprivation theory seems to ignore these.

4.2.4. Can be applied to other areas of anti social behaviour - date rapists - the individual's need for sexual contact is not matched by their ability to achieve these - this mismatch leads to the aggressive act of rape.

4.2.5. Plenty of examples where there is a clear difference between groups yet this does not lead to aggression - perceived difference does not always result in direct aggressive action.