Evolutionary Explanations of Aggression

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Evolutionary Explanations of Aggression by Mind Map: Evolutionary Explanations of Aggression

1. Aggressive behaviour by animals - Lorenz (1966)

1.1. 4 main drivers behind behaviour

1.1.1. Fear

1.1.2. Reproduction

1.1.3. Hunger

1.1.4. Aggression Why? Ensures only the fittest and strongest are selected by females to reproduce Ensure the survival of the young (parental protection) Helps to distribute a species in a balanced way as animals would have their own territories

1.2. Humans are animals and therefore show similar patterns of behaviour

1.2.1. Outdated? Research from the 1960s does not represent the methods or opinions current in ethology

1.2.2. Oversimplified? May not be correct to make comparisons between species and assume what might be true for animals is the same for humans - several differences between humans and animals so generalisation is difficult

1.2.3. Tinbergen - Human aggression is not usually ritualistic whereas animal aggression is

1.3. Animals show ritualised aggression as a basis for assertion of power and maintenance of status - not harmful

1.3.1. Gross (1998) - jackdaw behaviour - when two are about to attack each other, if one displays an appeasement tactic, the other will not attack

2. Aggressive behaviour by humans

2.1. Fromm (1973)

2.1.1. Benign Aggression Similar to animal aggression, it involves an impulsive act if threatened - e.g parent defending a child

2.1.2. Malignant Aggression An evil act, not instinctive - e.g. gang warfare, ethnic cleansing, Nazis

2.2. Nelson (1974) - basic factors that can affect aggression

2.2.1. Process of learning - Bandura proved aggression can be a learned behaviour

2.2.2. Structural causes - social life - a society without rules or norms is one where aggression is likely to be widespread

2.2.3. Psychological causes of aggression - aggression can be motivated by many different personal factors e.g. mood or feelings - situational factors e.g. heat or over-crowding

2.3. In some cases of human aggression, the victims are not even thought of as fellow humans i.e. unprovoked random attacks

2.4. Advances in weapons technology means attackers do not need to be physically close to those they are attacking - makes aggression easier

3. IDA

3.1. This argument is heavily on the nature side of the nature/ nurture debate as it states that cognitions and behaviours will ultimately be passed on to the next generation through sexual reproduction

3.2. By looking at infidelity and jealousy from the perspective of both males and females, evolutionary psychologists take steps to avoid gender bias

3.3. Reductionist: behaviour broken down to evolutionary/biological functions, ignoring emotions

4. Evolutionary Explanations

4.1. Aggression is a result of sexual competition - females invest heavily in terms of parental issues - males compete for females to pass on their genes - aggressive behaviour by males is a means by which they can ensure their reproductive success.

4.1.1. Kenrick et al (1996) - men have to compete with other men t gain access to women - dominant image for a man nowadays is' a provider of valuable resources' - men need to be more aggressive and assertive

4.1.2. Aggressive behaviour is not just between males - female aggression has redeveloped Buss (1999) - more verbal than physical - often aimed at reducing the 'attractiveness' of competitors in the eyes of males

4.2. Waller (2002) - humans have evolved living in groups so they have needed to define the boundaries of behaviour for the group - ingroup and outgroup - this thinking is likely to result in aggression

4.3. Influence of Jealousy

4.3.1. Cascardi et al (1995) - when Ps asked to explain the cause of aggression in a relationship, the most common answer is jealously Reliable as it has been replicated by others e.g. Canary et al (1998) - anger and aggression was contributed to by aggression

4.3.2. Holtzworth et al (1991) - some violent males lack effective ways of mediating and responding to situations of jealousy compared to non-violent males.

4.3.3. Males have tendencies to show mate guarding activities including the showing of aggressive activities to avoid sexual infidelity, whereas females display this behaviour less frequently

4.4. Influence of Infidelity

4.4.1. Infidelity triggers an emotional state within the individual as it is a perceived threat to the relationship and the current status quo

4.4.2. Buss et al (1992) - infidelity would naturally lead to the showing of behaviours that would reduce and eliminate the threat, this is often aggressive.

4.4.3. Brunk et al (1996) - from male POV, female infidelity brings uncertainty of paternity and sexual jealousy - it is lack of emotional support that makes women most aggressive, whereas for men anger and subsequent aggressions based upon suspicion of the wife's infidelity