Emma Burton N0694289
Discuss biological and behaviourist approaches into aggression including reductionist methodologies.
Aggression in behaviour is persistently debated amongst psychologists, along with the theories and factors that consider an ultimatum of why we behave this way. It refers to a behaviour, which is reaction from a situation, stimuli or emotion that has arose (Rohlfs & Ramírez, 2006). Physical aggression is a significant element that is present in both human and animal behaviour. A Real-World Health Organization report has shown that aggressive acts account for 1.43 million deaths worldwide (Provençal, Booij, & Tremblay, 2015).
This essay focuses on a reductionist approach into aggression, and the biological factors which may be the underlying cause for these impulsive responses, comparing two biological approaches to a behaviourist approach. The first article that will be reviewed in the first half of the paper comes from Rohlfs & Ramírez (2006) who concluded that emotions such as anger are a predisposing factor to impulsive aggression. The second article reviewed comes from Seo, Patrick, & Kennealy (2008) who studied the role of serotonin and dopamine interactions in neurobiology of impulsive aggression. The behaviourist approach by Bandura (1965) looks at the Social Learning Theory stating that aggressive behaviour is learnt through observation and imitation.
Rohlfs & Ramírez, (2006) offers a reductionist approach to why we may behave aggressively, by analysing brain asymmetries in aggression. There is evidence which suggests that anger (a negative emotion) is strongly linked with aggression, due to the association of the relative left-prefrontal activity.
Testosterone is a factor that is reported to have a significant causal effect. It is questionable whether the evidence that supports testosterone being a causal effect to aggression in mammal species can be applied in human aggression (Ramirez 2003). Archer (1991) found a weak positive relationship between the two variables (Testosterone and aggression). Dabbs (1990) took saliva samples to measure aggression in criminals. The results were that the higher level of testosterone had a history of more violent crimes. This is reductionist as it ignores the deep complexity’s behind the aggression, and any cultural differences that may be a corresponding factor; the findings are simply based on bodily states in saliva sample, which ignores individual differences.
Harmon- Jones and Sigelman (2001) approved two hypotheses: 1) that anger is associated with relative left pre-frontal activity in the brain; 2) pre-frontal activity is also connected with aggression and associated with the BAS. Their hypothesis was tested by conducting a study with two conditions; insult and non-insult condition. Participants in the insult condition reported to the researcher they felt more angrier and this was evidenced by an increase in relative left-frontal activity. The conclusi...