Psychology of aggression

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Psychology of aggression

  1. 1. Menan Abd El Maksoud Rabie, MBBCh, Msc, Arab Board, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Member of the Egyptian Psychiatric Association (EPA), International Member of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), Associate Member of the International Federation of Psychiatric Epidemiology (IFPE). Psychology of Aggression and Violence
  2. 2. Contents  Definition of aggression  Classification of aggression  Models of aggression  Determinants of aggression  Methods for reducing aggression
  3. 3. Definition  Aggression is a form of behavior directed towards the goal of harming or injuring or inflicting damage upon other individual who is motivated to avoid it. It intends to increase social dominance. People can avoid such treatment or may fight back.  It is not a motive e.g. revenge.  It is not a negative attitude e.g. ethnic or social prejudice.  It is intended not an accident.  It is not an emotion e.g. anger.
  4. 4.  Violence  It is the pursuit of aggression by force.  It is form of destructive behavior that endanger life or produce adverse effects on victims.  Excitement  It is the increased psychomotor activity, with verbal and physical aggression, often accompanied by autonomic hyperactivity.
  5. 5. Types of Aggression:  Hostile Aggression: defined as aggression stemming from feelings of anger and aimed at inflicting pain or injury  Instrumental aggression: Aggression as a means to some goal other than causing pain.  Physical or verbal aggression.  Relational aggression such as bullying and social manipulation;  Direct or indirect aggression. . Forms of Aggression:  Tendency to be physically assaultive.  Indirect expressed hostility.  Irritability.  Negativism.  Resentment.  Suspiciousness.  Verbally expressed anger.  Humors.  Rumors.
  6. 6. Models of Aggression
  7. 7. Models Of Aggression 1-Biological Basis of Aggression Genetic factor  Twin Studies: Concordance rates for monozygotic twins is higher than dizygotic as regards aggressive behavior.  Pedigree Studies: Some study showed that persons with FH of aggression are prone to violent behavior.  Chromosomal influence: More researchers concentrated on XYY syndrome (tall, below average IQ, more likely to engage in criminal behavior).  Inborn errors of metabolism: It is reported to be associated with aggression, e.g. Lish Nyhan S, Phenyl ketonuria, etc…
  8. 8. Models Of Aggression 1-Biological Basis of Aggression B) Anatomical Basis (Neural Substrates):  Amygdala, temporal lobes and limbic system: Stimulation of the amygdala results in augmented aggressive behavior, while lesions of this area greatly reduce one's competitive drive and aggression.  Hypothalamus: regulatory role. The hypothalamus causes aggressive behavior when electrically stimulated, but also has receptors that determine aggression levels through the neurotransmitters serotonin and vasopressin.  Frontal lobe dysfunctions alter neurochemistry, neuro- metabolism. Impaired function of the prefrontal cortex leads to aggression as aggressive individuals have reduced prefrontal activation. Lesions in the frontal cortex are characterized by aggression, irritability and short tempers. Hypo function of the frontal lobes (which helps
  9. 9. Evidence Clinical:  Temporal lobe lesion: may be associated with explosive aggressive behavior.  Temporal lobotomy alleviates aggression.  Birth trauma, head injury and intra-cerebral infections affecting temporal lobe limbic system lead to aggression. Experimental:  Overstimulation of amygdala in temporal lobe leads to aggressive behavior.  Lesion or removal of temporal lobes or amygdala decrease aggression (Kluver Bucy syndrome) the animal becomes hypersexual, apathetic, and over eating behavior.  Sham-rage reaction: loss of inhibition on amygdala.  Pharmacological evidences: antiepileptic drugs may be used in
  10. 10. Models Of Aggression 1-Biological Basis of Aggression  C)Biochemical factors of aggression  Testosterone has been shown to correlate with aggressive behavior in mice and in some humans.  Progesterone, LH, and Prolactin (in birds) increase aggression. Estrogen decreases aggression.  Thyroid hormones: increase aggression.  Serotonin: Low serotonin could contribute to aggressive behavior.  Alcohol disinhibits an individual. Over half of all acts of rape occur while the aggressor is under
  11. 11. Psychological Theories of aggression  Psychoanalytical Theory (innate theories).  Humanistic Theory (drive theories).  Social Learning theory.
  12. 12. Psychological Theories of aggression Psychoanalytical Theories 1- Sigmund Freud is well known as the father of psychoanalysis. In his early theory, Freud asserts that human behaviors are motivated by sexual and instinctive drives known as the libido, which is energy derived from the Eros, or life instinct. Thus, the repression of such libidinal urges is displayed as aggression. Later, Freud added the concept of Thanatos, or death force, to his Eros theory of human behavior. Contrary to the libido energy emitted from the Eros, Thanatos energy encourages destruction and death. In this conflict between Eros and Thanatos, some of the negative energy of the Thanatos is directed toward others, to prevent the self-destruction of the individual. Thus, Freud claimed that the displacement of negative energy of the Thanatos onto others is the basis of aggression. Freud's psychoanalytic theory demonstrates that aggression is innate, inevitable, common to all humans, leading to self or others destruction.
  13. 13. Psychological Theories of aggression Psychoanalytical Theories According to Freud:  Aggression may be due to impaired mother-child relationship (children of punitive parents are more aggressive)  Aggression is developed during the oral stage when the pleasure of biting is added to that of sucking. Fixation on the oral stage of psychosexual development may lead to sadistic personality.  Aggression may be due to impaired development of superego.  Aggression may be due to defense mechanisms:  Projection  Narcissism
  14. 14. Psychological Theories of aggression Lorenz Theory- The evolutionary theory of aggression:  Lorenz looked at instinctual aggressiveness as a product of evolution.  Aggressiveness is beneficial and allows for the survival, territory protection and success of populations of aggressive species since the strongest animals would eliminate weaker ones and over the course of evolution, the result would be a stronger, healthier population.  More optimistic, individual may
  15. 15. Psychological Theories of aggression Adler’s view:  Aggression is due to the striving for superiority and perfection. Mc Dougall’s view: Aggression is an instinct.  A civilized man modifies and replaces physical aggression and destruction with sarcastic smiles, polished insulting words.  Only when these methods fail, may the individual regress to the primitive and childish way of behavior.
  16. 16. Theories of aggression Humanistic Theory Frustration-aggression hypothesis Aggression is a drive (basic concept). It arises from deprivation of basic needs (Abraham Maslow)  The drive theory attributes aggression to an impulse created by an innate need. In this theory, frustration and aggression are linked in a cause and effect relationship. Frustration is the cause of aggression and aggression is the result of frustration.  Frustration may cause apathy, depression, anxiety,
  17. 17. Psychological Theories of aggression Social learning Theory  Albert Bandura and his colleagues were able to demonstrate one of the ways in which children learn aggression. Bandura's theory proposes that learning occurs through observation and interaction with other people  The experiment involved exposing children to two different adult models, an aggressive model and a non-aggressive one. After witnessing the adult's behavior, the children would then be placed in a room without the model and were observed to see if they would imitate the behavior they had witnessed earlier. He predicted that children who observed an adult acting aggressively would be likely to act aggressively.  Aggression is initially learned from social behavior and maintained by reward, which encourages the further display of aggression.  Aggressive responses are acquired so they are evitable
  18. 18. Media violence:  Although most young people who are exposed to violence in TV and movies and playing violent video games do not become violent criminals, they can become more open to acts of violence. However, media violence is explicitly not considered a causal influence of aggression, but in a combination with genetic and early social influences could have an influence.
  19. 19. Determinants of Aggression
  20. 20. Determinants of aggression 1- Social determinants  Frustration. Aggression increases if a person feels blocked from achieving a goal.  Direct provocation from others (physical abuse or verbal insults) serve as a powerful determinant of aggression.  Exposure to aggressive models (observational learning, disinhibition, desensitization)  Lack of social skills (inability to communicate or negotiate.
  21. 21. Determinants of aggression 2- Environmental determinants:  Air pollution: noxious odors, fumes, cigarette smoke produce irritability and aggression. Up to a certain limit, when the odor becomes foul the aggression tends to decrease to escape from the unpleasant environment.  Noise: Exposure to loud irritating voice may increase aggression.  Crowding: over crowding may increase aggression.  Heat: increased temperature (>32ºC) facilitate aggression but to a limit.
  22. 22. Determinants of aggression 3- Situational determinants (psychological)  Heightened physiological arousal due to stress, anxiety, competition, vigorous exercise or exposure to films that produce arousal.  Sexual arousal: Minimal levels of aggression occur in presence of mild sexual stimulation and stronger levels with higher degree of stimulation.  Pain: Physical pain may arouse aggressive drive but up to limits. Severe pain may hinder aggression.
  23. 23. Methods For Reducing Aggression
  24. 24. Methods for reducing aggression 1- Punishment  Physical punishment is itself aggressive, it actually models such behavior to children and may engage greater aggressiveness, punishment often fails to reduce aggression because it does not communicate what the aggressor should do, only what he should not do. Sometimes it may be effective deterrent to overt aggression if it is non-physical and delivered immediately after aggression.
  25. 25. 2- Catharsis  The theory of catharsis predicts that venting one’s anger would serve to make one less likely to engage in subsequent acts of aggression. Guided by this theory, many educators encourage aggressive person to express aggression in another form as contact sport.
  26. 26. 3- Defusing anger through apology  Apology plays an integral part to reduce aggressive behavior but the first question is whether the person believes an apology is even necessary and here a gender difference is seen, many men think that apology is not “manly“.
  27. 27. 4- Modeling Non aggressive Behavior  Exposing children to non-aggressive models, to people who, when provoked, express themselves in a restrained, rational, pleasant manner. Later, children will behave peacefully and gently if put in a provoking situation.
  28. 28. 5- Training in communication and problem solving skills  People are not born knowing how to express anger non-violently, teaching people techniques how to communicate anger in constructive ways, how to negotiate and compromise when conflicts arise and how to be more sensitive to the needs and desires of others
  29. 29. 6- Building Empathy  Empathy has shown significant effect in reducing levels of aggression among school children while raising social/emotional competence and reducing anger.
  30. 30. 7- Aggression Replacement Training (ART)  cognitive behavioral intervention focused on adolescents, a program that has three components: Social skills, Anger Control Training, and Moral Reasoning.
  31. 31. THANK YOU

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