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Psychology Aggression

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By chantellechants
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PSYCHOLOGY - AGGRESSION JANUARY 2011 ; discuss evolutionary explanations of human aggression (8+16marks) Aggression is behaviour directed towards another intended to harm (hostile) or as a means to an end (instrumental). The evolutionary theory explains aggression as an adaptive response to a series of threats to an individual’s survival and reproduction. Aggression is a way of tackling the threats posed to an individual, by eliminating them or reducing the level of their interference.
Mate retention is the act of guarding against mate poaching and maintaining a partner’s interest. This includes direct guarding and negative inducements. Direct guarding is when the male restricts his partner’s sexual autonomy. Coming home early from work, for example, to check on his partner is an act of direct guarding. Shackleford (2005) found men who used mate retention are more aggressive. This suggests that mate retention is the main reason for aggression towards a partner. However, this is criticised as a clear cause and effect relationship cannot be established as it doesn’t explain what caused the mate retention in the first place. It is also reductionist as it doesn’t take into psychodynamic factors that may lead to over protective behaviour (like checking up on partners) which could be a result of previous control-related experiences in an individual’s early childhood. Negative inducement includes threats of infidelity (unfaithfulness), and research has found through questionnaires that female partners who reported higher levels of abuse from their male partners were also described by their male partners as being highly likely to be unfaithful. This study has been criticised as it is gender biased (alpha) as it focuses on male aggression towards their female partners. It also does not consider the behaviour within same-sex relationships when the same problem is…...

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