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Aggression Notes

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UNIT 3 - AGGRESSION REVISION

SOCIAL

PSYCHOLOGICAL THEORIES OF AGGRESSION, FOR EXAMPLE, SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY, DEINDIVIDUATION

1. SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY

Learning theory (Skinner's operant conditioning) suggests that we learn from the outcome that the behaviour produces Albert Bandura moved away from RADICAL BEHAVIOURISM to come up with a SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY. Bandura's SLT says children learn to be aggressive by observing the behaviour of those around them. By seeing others being rewarded or punished for their aggressive behaviours, the child experiences VICARIOUS REINFORCEMENT. From these models, children learn about the nature of aggressive behaviour, the situations where it is appropriate and its likely consequences.

FOUR PROCESSES IN IMITATION:

1. ATTENTION

If a person intends to learn anything then they must be paying attention. Factors that may influence the level of attention are the characteristics of the person (e.g. sensory capacities), or their role model (e.g. gender or age of role model, and whether the role model is seen in a positive light)

2. RETENTION

Retention is important as one would need to remember what they have seen in order to imitate it. We store what we have seen a model do by creating mental representations of the event, and these are formed along with the anticipated rewards or punishments in terms of expectancies of future outcomes.

3. REPRODUCTION

A person must be physically able to reproduce the behaviour. Confident in their ability to reproduce the behaviour (self-efficacy)

4. MOTIVATION

A person also requires motivation; they must have a good reason to imitate the aggressive behaviour.

Bandura said that children have a role model. They choose their role models and pay attention to their behaviours. If their behaviour is REWARDED, the child will copy it. This is VICARIOUS REINFORCEMENT or INDIRECT REINFORCEMENT. RECIPROCAL DETERMINISM This refers to an interaction between the individual and the environment; they affect each other. Motor responses Verbal responses BEHAVIOUR Social interactions

PERSONAL Beliefs & Attitudes Cognitive abilities Physical characteristics

ENVIRONMENTAL Physical surroundings Family & Friends Other social influences

The SLT includes the concept of RECIPROCAL DETERMINISM; therefore it is not a pure behaviourist theory as it considers the role of cognitive factors i.e. the environment is not the only thing with influences behaviour…

• People are influenced by their own self-beliefs, thoughts and ideas and a person's behaviour is influenced by the environment

• In turn, the way the environment works is influenced by a person's behaviour and attitudes

• BOTH CHANGE EACH OTHER E.G.  the boy not able to hit at home (because he will be punished), but at school he is able to do so. OR a girl starts to lose weight - receives positive reinforcement from friends - continues to lose weight. SELF-EFFICACY This is the perception that we have of our own ability to perform a behaviour. A person must believe they can perform the behaviour and develop confidence in their ability to carry out the aggressive actions. If the behaviour is performed and the child was not successful at it or was punished for it, the child will have very little self-confidence - a lower sense of self efficacy in their ability to use aggression to get what they want and they may then turn to other means. E.G.  the boy would not hit his brother at home because IT IS NOT GOOD FOR HIM as he is punished. However, if the behaviour is rewarded, an individual develops self-efficacy - an expectation that their behaviour will be rewarded. The child is then more likely to repeat that behaviour in the future - DIRECT REINFORCEMENT.

AO1: OUTLINE A SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL EXPLANATION OF AGGGRESSION. (8 MARKS)

1. Traditional learning theory - only direct experience explains acquisition of new

behaviours. However, Bandura states that we actually learn through observing others behaviours, attitudes, and outcomes of those behaviours.

2. According to Bandura, there are four necessary processes involved with social

learning; attention, retention, motivation and reproduction

3. Attention - factors that may influence the level of attention are the characteristics

of the person (e.g. sensory capacities), or their role model (e.g. gender or age of role model, and whether the role model is seen in a positive light).

4. Retention - need to remember what they have seen in order to imitate it. We

store what we have seen a model do by creating mental representations of the event, and these are formed along with the anticipated rewards or punishments in terms of expectancies of future outcomes.

5. Motivation - must have a good reason to imitate the aggressive behaviour. An

individual also expects to receive positive reinforcement for the modelled behaviour. For example, if a child sees the role model being rewarded for his or her aggressive behaviour, the child may then be motivated to reproduce that behaviour. This is learning by means of vicarious reinforcement.

6. Reproduction - individual needs to be able to reproduce the behaviour. The

observer must possess the physical capabilities of the modelled behaviour

7. Reciprocal determinism - the individual and the environment affect each other;

the individual receives feedback from the environment about his or her behaviour.

8. Once a child has copied the behaviour, the child will then decide whether to

continue that behaviour or not on the basis of positive or negative reinforcement (direct reinforcement). The child's ability to decide to continue to reproduce the behaviour is explained by self-efficacy, which requires the child to judge whether they should repeat the behaviour on the basis of how happy they are with the reward it brings.

RESEARCH EVIDENCE FOR SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY

1. Bandura et al (1961) - The Bobo Doll Experiment

This experiment involved children observing aggressive and nonaggressive adult models and then being tested for imitative behaviour in the absence of the model.

Participants - male and female children ranging from three to five Half of the children were exposed to an adult model behaving aggressively towards a Bobo doll (kicking it about the room and using verbal aggression)and half exposed to a model who behaved non-aggressively Following exposure to the models, children were frustrated by being shown, but not allowed to play with, attractive toys They were then taken to a room where there was a Bobo doll.

FINDINGS  Children exposed to the aggressive model displayed far more verbal and physical aggression towards the Bobo doll (approximately onethird) compared to children who had been exposed to the non-aggressive model. Children who had seen a non-aggressive model displayed virtually no aggression towards the doll. Boys reproduced more imitative physical aggression than girls, but they did not differ in their imitation of verbal aggression

2. Bandura and Walter (1963)

Explained WHY a child would be motivated to perform the same behaviours in the absence of the model. Three groups of children were shown a film of an adult model being aggressive towards a Bobo Doll with different endings GROUP 1 - model rewarded for aggression GROUP 2 - model punished for aggression GROUP 3 - no consequence FINDINGS  GROUP 1 (model rewarded by another adult for aggressive behaviour) behaved most aggressively towards the Bobo doll, whereas GROUP 2 behaved the least aggressively. HOWEVER  When offered incentives for each repetition of the model's aggressive behaviour however, children in GROUP 2 displayed as many aggressive behaviours as children in GROUP 1. THIS DEMONSTRATES THAT ALL CHILDREN HAD LEARNED THE AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOURS, BUT ONLY CHILDREN IN GROUP 2 HAD BEEN MOTIVATED TO REPRODUCE THEM. This is where Bandura introduced the idea of VICARIOUS REINFORCEMENT - learning the likely consequences of behaviour.

3. Phillips (1986) - Boxing Matches and Daily Homicide Rates

Daily homicide rates in the US almost always increased in the week following a major boxing match suggesting that viewers were imitating behaviour they had observed. This research therefore provides real world application in terms of evidence of the relevance of SLT to explain aggression outside the context of the laboratory.

4. Boyatzis (1995) - The Power Rangers Study

Investigated the effects of the programme 'Power Rangers' - most popular and violent children's TV program on at the time - on children's aggressive behaviour

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