Chapter Review

Situational Determinants of Aggression

  • Hostile aggression is motivated by anger and hostility, having the primary aim of harming others, either physically or psychologically. Instrumental aggression is behavior intended to achieve some goal.
  • Heat affects levels of violence. Hotter cities have higher rates of violent crime, and more violence occurs during hot months than during cool months.
  • Media violence has been shown to cause violence and aggression in real life. When a highly publicized suicide occurs, copycat suicides follow. Longitudinal studies show that children who watch more violence on TV commit more serious crimes as adults than do children who watch less violence. Watching violence on TV also causes more violent behavior in the short run. Violent video games also increase the likelihood of violence.
  • Social rejection is a powerful elicitor of aggressive tendencies.

Construal Processes and Aggression

  • According to the frustration-aggression hypothesis, when attempts at achieving goals are blocked, aggression ensues.
  • An alternative hypothesis is the neo-associationistic model, which states that people respond aggressively to an aversive stimulus only when they make anger-related construals about that stimulus.
  • Construal processes affect both anger and aggression. Acts that seem intentional are more likely to cause aggression than identical acts that do not seem intentional.

Culture and Aggression

  • People in many parts of the world, including many people in the U.S. South, adhere to a culture of honor, meaning that they are inclined to respond to insults and actions that convey malicious intentions with violence or threats of violence. Such cultures are especially likely wherever there is a history of herding, with its greater attendant risks of losing all wealth.
  • In rape-prone cultures, levels of violence tend to be high in general, and rape is used as a weapon in battle. In such cultures, rape is used as a ritual act and as a threat to keep women subservient to men. Relatively rape-free cultures tend to grant women equal status.

Evolution and Aggression

  • Evolutionary theory provides a useful perspective on family violence. Stepchildren are more subject to abuse than genetic offspring, who can carry on the genetic 
  • Violent and aggressive acts are more likely to be committed by men than by women. Women are likely to be aggressive in different ways than men, using relational aggression such as gossip and ostracism to hurt others emotionally rather than violence.

Conflict and Peacemaking

  • Groups in conflict tend to misperceive the other side as extremist and overestimate their differences, dehumanize the opponent, assume the other side’s actions are motivated by hostility, and reactively devalue any offers or concessions.
  • More complex reasoning involving more evidence and integration of ideas promotes peacemaking in international conflicts.
  • Communication is a powerful way to reduce conflict.