One psychological or social question from the Biological perspective Essay Example
One psychological or social question from the Biological perspective Essay Example

One psychological or social question from the Biological perspective Essay Example

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  • Pages: 3 (1198 words)
  • Published: December 12, 2017
  • Type: Research Paper
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Due to nature of biological perspective, Biological theorists suggest that aggression is caused by a combination of genetic predisposition, physiological abnormality or evolutionary characteristic.

Evidence that aggression is the manifestation of a genetic or chemical influence comes from various studies investigating its cause.

Neurological Explanation

Studies have shown that the presence or absence of certain brain chemicals/neurotransmitters/hormones could possible be the cause/reason of abnormal levels of aggression.

This theory explains why men are naturally more aggressive than women. One study investigating the relationship between high levels of testosterone in men and criminal records found a high correlation between the two.

  • Further evidence, male animals that have been castrated (cannot produce male hormones) showed deceased levels of aggression/violence and fought less.
  • Female aggression also linked with abnormal hormone balance. Floody reviewed research on PMS and found evidence that supports this view - during periods of hormonal fluctuation women are more hostile, agitated and are more likely to commit a crime.
  • Also low levels of serotonin have been linked with increased aggression levels.

Studies have shown that people with history of crime have been linked with particularly low levels of this neurotransmitter. Also, a study showed that people with low levels of it have a reduced ability to control aggressive impulses. In addition it has been used as an effective pharmacological treatment in combating those who suffer form erratic aggression.

Third reason (abnormal brain structure and anatomy) have been linked as possible causes of aggression.

Researchers have found significant differences in brain structure of mass murderers (reduced activity on both sides of amygadala and pre-frontal co


rtex)Evaluation:- Common problem with any attempt to explain any psychological behaviour using physiological causes - its too difficult to distinguish whether he differences are causes or symptoms of the aggression.

Genetic Explanation

These views of genetic essentialism claim that not only are physical characteristics determined by genetics, but also social rules, behaviours and relationships have also a biological-genetic basis. (Kegley)

There is growing evidence that suggests that biological factors can predispose aggression. Jacobs et al found men in prison had abnormal sex chromosone XYY ( an extra Y), from this he developed theory that the extra Y could account for increased levels of aggression. However this theory was discounted when evidence showed that this abnormal sex chromosome was widespread in the general population and could therefore no longer account for increased levels of aggression.

More recent research has identified genetic trends in a Danish family where the male members all experience abnormal levels of aggression. Evidence not supported by any other studies. Evaluation: Still yet scientifically undetermined the proponents of genetic theory. It does however explain the presence/absence of aggression in particular breeds in terms of single gene or gene interaction, this link is still being explored and investigated.

Evolutionary/ethological explanationEvolutionary theory of aggression just one of many different explanations suggested from the biological perspective, its fairly similar to the psychoanalytic theory in that aggression is instinctive. Etiologists and Evolutionists argue that aggression must be understood in terms of natural function.

In essence Lorenz combine Freud's theory of aggression with Darwin's theory of natural selection. In this interpretation, aggression is beneficial and allows for the survival of the most aggressive/strongest

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species as they control the resources, results in stronger/healthier population.

Animals especially males are biologically programmed to be aggressive to survive.

Classical ethological account is from Lorenz - who made conclusions about this after observing the interaction of non-human species in their natural surroundings. He felt that these conclusions were easily applicable to human behaviour as the same laws of natural selection govern them.* He argued that aggression was a highly adaptive response as the most aggressive species are more likely to survive and pass on their genes.

However it has been found that aggressive behaviour does not usually results in the death of the individual in was directed upon. Any species where aggression results in death will eventually become extinct by evolution, unless it has evolved as a method of natural regulation. This belief that animals have the biological ability to switch aggression on and off has been highly criticised.

One study in particular observed that appeasing gestures did not stop fighting within a group of monkeys. This suggests that the parallel made between human and non-human species behaviour is over-simplifiedb) Compare the biological explanation of the question of the question selected on part (a) with the explanation offered by one other perspective (10 marks)Learning - social learning theory of aggression

One most influential and accepted theories of aggression proposed by Albert Bandura, a behavioural psychologist - social learning theory.

According to this approach most behaviour, in particular aggression, is learned.

'The specific form that aggression takes, the frequency with which its displayed and the specific targets selected for attack are largely determined by social learning factors.'

All three of these elements were demonstrated in Bandura's experiment, Bashing bobo, with children. In which he found passive exposure to an aggressive model let to the imitation of specific acts and general increase in aggressive behaviour.

Essence of SLT is that new behaviours are learned indirectly as well as through direct reinforcement (C.C.)

Indirect learning: results of observational learning

Vicarious: this theory involves cognitive processes, and is thus a departure from the traditional learning approach which denies and rejected any theories that suggested the influence of cognitive factors.

There are number of circumstances under which behaviour is most likely to be imitated.(Type of model and type of individual)* Vicarious punishment may also occur - reducued response

In addition social modelling may reduce likelihood of one response because another has been strengthened.- Similar to milgram but watched aggressive video b4 - compared to those who didn't. Example of disinhibition. Participants observed socially unacceptable behaviour before hand, which weakened the pro-social behaviour learnt previously.

Development and aggression: most important social models for children are parents. This was demonstrated by Patterson et al, the findings from his study provoked practical application. It proposed methods by which we can reduce aggressiveness of children by parents being taught alternative skills.

  • Further research from studies that investigated links between video game playing and increased aggressiveness.
  • Cross-cultural studies, Margaret Meed.
  • And the study of tribes in New Guinea.
  • Eval: This theory was very influential and important, largely accepted that most of aggressive behaviour is learnt through modelling and observational learning.

Accepted, as it successfully accounts for variations in aggressive behaviour between individuals, cross-cultures

and in diff situations. When children learnt the appropriateness of certain behaviours in different situation, it's called context-development learning.

However: despite its success, one can argue that it is limited in scope. It has been proved through family and twin studies that the learning of aggression does not occur entirely due to SLT.

Evidence points suggest a strong biological factor (innate).

Twin studies show stronger concordance rate between MZ than DZ twins, implying there id a genetic influence, however cannot rule out environmental influences when interpreting these studies, as it is most likely that these twins have grown up in similar environments and therefore have been exposed to similar occasions on which SLT may have occurred.