According to Lorenz, aggression in non-humans is basically constructive, but in humans it becomes distorted.
KonradLorenz looked at instinctual aggressiveness as a product of evolution. In essence, Lorenz combined Freuds theory of aggression with Charles Darwins natural selection theory. PsychoanlyticTheory + EvolutionaryTheory?
In this interpretation, aggressiveness isbeneficial and allows for the survival andsuccess of populations of aggressive speciessince the strongest animals would eliminateweaker ones and over the course ofevolution, the result would be an ultimatestronger, healthier population.
“Ritualisation refers to a way of dischargingaggression in a fixed, stereotyped pattern.”Fights between members of the samespecies result in relatively littlephysical harm to either victor orvanquished, but at the same timeallow a victor to emerge.E.g. Wolves will end their fight withthe loser exposing its jugular vein –but this is sufficient and no blood isspilled.
Another example… The fighting that takes place between stags is highly ritualized, and the triumphant one is the male who ‘makes his point’ rather than the one who kills or incapacitates his opponent
• However naturally aggressive we are as a species compared with other species, our superior brains have enabled us to construct weapons which remove combat from the eye- to-eye, face-to-face situation.• This inevitably reduces the overall role – and effectiveness – of appeasement rituals.
• Indeed, the deadliest weapons (as measured by the number of victims who can be killed or injured at one time) are the very ones which can be used at the greatest distance from the intended victims (such as bombs and intercontinental nuclear missiles). According to Lea (1984): we have developed a technology which enables our intentions to override our instincts.
o Railroad worker-spike went through his head:o Gage was able to walk away from the accident, "talking with composure and equanimity of the hole in his head."o Previously a polite and sociable gentleman, Gage became an antisocial, foul- mouthed, irresponsible, bad- mannered lout and unrepentant liar.o According to his friends, he was "no longer Gage."o He drifted from job to job, finally dying penniless.
Supportingevidence“Common to some of the other biologicaltheories is the proposition that aggression isthe manifestation of a genetic or chemicalinfluence. Empirical evidence shows thatcerebral electrical stimulation of certainlocations can induce or inhibit aggression.”
• Presence or absence of particular chemicals and hormones affects aggression• E.g. high levels of the hormone testosterone and neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and noradrenalin produce higher levels of aggression in animals.• Serotonin has been used pharmacologically as an effective treatment in combating erratic aggression. --> is this really effective?
• The serotoninreuptakeinhibitors (SSRIs) are prescribedfor the treatment of major depressive disorder, social anxietydisorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), Eatingdisorders, generalizedanxietydiso rder, and posttraumatic stress disorder etc.• They are generallysupposedto reduce anxiety
• Recently, therehasbeenmuch interest in the possible relation betweenaggression and the useofSSRIs in humans• Thisis due torecent murder cases in the Netherlands, where a connection wasmadewith SSRI usage.• The DutchSmPCsof the SSRIsdescribeagitation and manicreactionaspossibleadversedrugreactions, butaggr ession and murder ideation are notdescribed. http://www.lareb.nl/LarebCorporateWebsite/ media/publicaties/kwb_2009_3_ssris.pdf
• SSRIsincreaseserotonergicactivity in the centralnervous system byinhibitionofneuronal• reuptakeofserotonin (5-hydroxy-tryptamine, 5-HT).• Serotoninissupposedtohave a role in the inhibitionofimpulses, the regulationofemotions and• social functioning, which are domainslinkedtoaggression