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Discuss the Variables Involved in Aggression. Which Variables Are Most Important?

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Discuss the Variables Involved in Aggression. Which Variables Are Most Important?

Although aggression is a difficult term to correctly identify, it can be described as a type of behaviour that is characterised by physical or verbal violence. It can be directed to others, where physical harm or verbal insults take place, or it can be directed to oneself, where self-destructive actions take place. There are many factors that provoke aggression. It can be caused by overwhelming emotions of frustration, genetic inheritance, triggering of certain environments and aggressive influences. Forms of aggression can range from inter-male aggression, fear induced aggression, irritable aggression, territorial aggression and instrumental aggression. Through out the many generations of humans, aggression has been a well-known behaviour that affects each and every one of us at some point of our lives. The variables that could possibly determine the severity of aggression are biological influences, neural influences, social influences, biochemical influences, and environmental influences.

Biological influences refer to the genes each and every one of us withholds. Through genetics, characteristics of aggression have been thought to be inherited. The instinct theory explains that instinctive behaviours involving aggression are inborn within all humans. Through this, we can understand that aggression can be used as an instrumental tool to achieve success in various endeavours such as sports and debating. Genetically speaking, the belief that aggression is an inherited behaviour is partially true as research has proven that only specific personality traits that determine the probability of aggression are inherited. A research study conducted by Caspi in 1998 found that aggressive behaviour is only partly inherited. This conclusion was made through data collection involving the use of identical twins and non-identical twins. In 1994, research conducted by Baron and Richardson, also found that certain temperaments are inherited.

As aggression is a complicated behaviour, the function of the brain and nervous system can also be held responsible for the triggering of aggression. Many theories have speculated the idea that the development and control of aggression is made by various areas of the brain. The cerebral cortex, hypothalamus, amygdala and pituitary gland are believed to the sections of the brain that are responsible. A research study conducted by Myers, 1999, found that when the amygdala is activated by electrodes, aggression is experienced by the host. This leads us to the conclusion that the provocation of the brain structure caused aggression. Therefore, the brain is only partially responsible for the triggering of aggression. The cerebral cortex can also be held partially responsible for aggression. Through the nervous system, messages are produced, sent and received through out various parts of the human body. A joke may be made and it may be interpreted as an insult by the cerebral cortex. Therefore, the host might lash out in fury and aggression is encountered.

Social influences can be held responsible for aggression as frustration can be caused and individuality can be lost. Frustration can be described as the emotion and behaviours associated with not accomplishing a goal due to interruptions that may be caused by a person, pet or technological devices. For instance, if you are attempting to revise for your final exam and your little brother has been constantly bugging you for the past hour or so, the goal of revising seems to have been interrupted. Consequently, screaming, verbal insults or physical aggression may occur. Therefore, the theory that frustration causes aggression and aggression is a result of frustration is supported. Belonging to a large group can influence people in quite negative ways. Deindividuality, the loss of individuality, and anonymity, feeling invisible, can occur. Therefore, people may act in ways they wouldn’t normally act in. people then start to hysterically scream at football games as they may feel it will make them belong in the crowd and that they will not be held wholly accountable for their actions. A study conducted by Diener, in 1980, and Prentice-Dunn & Rogers, in 1982, confirmed this as individuals in a group were found to be less likely to reflect on their internal thoughts and the consideration of their actions.

As another cause of aggression, biochemical influences, in the form of hormones, drugs or alcohol, may explain the severity of aggression and differentiation in gender aggression. Hormones are chemical substance in the human body that are released into the human body to trigger activities elsewhere in the body. Testosterone, found in high amounts in males and in low amounts in female, is a hormone that has been known to cause much aggression.

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