Agression Are We Born Agressive Or Is It Learned

1743 words - 7 pages

Are we born aggressive or do we lean to be aggressive? There is much debate among psychologists as to whether we are born aggressive or learn to become so, with an abundance of evidence supporting both ideas. In this essay I intend to present and evaluate both sides of this argument in order to gain a clear picture of these two points of view.The biological side of the argument states that the difference between aggressive and non-aggressive individuals is due to differences in the genes.Throughout the centuries, ideas about the biological influence on aggression have changed and developed. For example, in the 19th century, It was thought that body types played the main role. This fits the ...view middle of the document...

Knoblich and King, in 1992 found that a decrease in the level of seratonin in the body increased the risk of aggressive behaviour. In their studies they used animals and saw a depletion of seratonin, for example in their diet, would cause aggressive behaviour.They also found that children with naturally low levels of the chemical were more likely to be aggressive.In 1983, Linnolia et al studied men imprisoned for various reasons. They found that men who had been imprisoned for impulsive violent crimes had lower levels of seratonin than those men imprisoned for non-impulsive violent crimes.It has been suggested that high levels of testosterone in both the womb and through early childhood cause the development of an aggressive neurophysiology. It has also been shown that increased levels of testosterone at any moment increases the likelihood of aggressive behaviour at that point.In 1981, Reinisch showed that if the daughters of women treated with a hormone similar to testosterone during pregnancy grew up to be more aggressive than girls in a controlled group who had not been exposed to the drug.O Lweus et al (1988) found that an increased level of testosterone in adolescent boys caused them to behave more aggressively when provoked..Genetic evidence for a biological basis to aggression is mostly based on twin studies and adopted children.In 1988, Tellegan et al studied twins who had been raised apart from birth showed higher correlation between identical than fraternal twins. However, Professor Plomin conducted a similar study and found a 40% similarity and 60% dissimilarity between twins. He concluded that violence was not genetically linked in any great degree.Longitudinal studies by Mendick et al in 1987of boys adopted at birth showed a significant correlation between natural fathers and their adopted sons being convicted of violent crime. 14000 adopted children were involved in a similar Danish study that provided a contradicting conclusion. The children were compared to their biological parents and no link was found for aggression but there were strong links for theft.The psychologist Lorenz believed that aggression is biologically innate in humans on both an individual and group level, but modern society has removed certain instincts and the development of guns (at a micro level) and weaponry (macro) has altered the implications of our aggressive tendencies.The exact origin of a biological cause of aggression is secondary to the way that certain dispositions influence the way that the environment moulds a child's ideas and schemas to produce different responses to provoking, external stimuli.The main theory backing up the 'social' view of aggression is the 'Social Learning Theory'. As the name suggests, this theory is based on the idea that we learn to be aggressive. It basically says that we gain reinforcement by watching other people behaving aggressively. This is known as 'indirect reinforcement'. If the 'observed' is seen to be praised...

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