Select your language

Suggested languages for you:
Log In Start studying!
StudySmarter - The all-in-one study app.
4.8 • +11k Ratings
More than 3 Million Downloads
Free
|
|

All-in-one learning app

  • Flashcards
  • NotesNotes
  • ExplanationsExplanations
  • Study Planner
  • Textbook solutions
Start studying

Aggression

Save Save
Print Print
Edit Edit
Sign up to use all features for free. Sign up now

Want to get better grades?

Nope, I’m not ready yet

Get free, full access to:

  • Flashcards
  • Notes
  • Explanations
  • Study Planner
  • Textbook solutions
Aggression

Aggression in psychology refers to behaviours that could harm yourself, others, or could affect objects in the environment. This harm can be physical or psychological.

What would be some examples of aggression?

These usually include harming others or destroying the environment, such as breaking a door by punching it or throwing something.

But firstly, how would one even measure aggression in psychology? This can be done in several ways, mainly by counting how many times a person is aggressive in response to a stimulus or trigger and the intensity of the aggression on a scale/ratio.

Furthermore, the types of aggression causes are explored using both biological and psychological explanations. Is aggression down to our genetics? Or can our evolutionary background explain its origins? Or perhaps it's because of our environment and those around us. This article will ask the above questions whilst assessing the different theories behind the biological and psychological explanations of aggression, identifying key theories on the feelings of aggression and why they come about in the body and brain.

Specifically, we will cover neural and hormonal mechanisms, genetic origins of aggressions, ethological explanations of aggression, evolutionary explanations of aggression, social-psychological explanations of aggression, institutional theories of aggression, and media influences.

It is important to understand where aggression stems from and why it occurs, as, according to the World Health Organisation, in 2002 almost twice as many people died from interpersonal altercations than from being victims of war (World Health Organization & Krug, E., 2002, as cited in Popova, 2008).

Neural and hormonal mechanisms as causes of aggression in psychology

Here, we consider the limbic system and the effects serotonin, testosterone, and cortisol have on aggression.

The limbic system

The limbic system plays an important role in regulating emotional behaviours and includes structures such as the hypothalamus, the hippocampus, and the amygdala. The amygdala is particularly important in aggression. When stimulated in animal studies, animals show more aggressive behaviours. When removed, however, they showed less or no aggressive behaviours.

Aggression Limbic System StudySmarterThe brain with the limbic system labelled, Wikimedia Commons.

Serotonin research

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter. It has widespread inhibitory effects on the brain. When considering aggression:

  • Normal levels of serotonin in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) are correlated with greater self-control (inhibiting impulsive behaviour). Decreased levels of serotonin reduce self-control and may increase impulsivity. This is the serotonin deficiency hypothesis (decreased levels of serotonin causes a reduced inhibitory effect, affecting the OFC and causing more impulsive and aggressive behaviours).

Testosterone research

Testosterone is an androgen, a hormone controlling the development of male characteristics. It is produced in the gonads (male testes and female ovaries) and the adrenal cortex.

  • It is suggested that testosterone is linked to aggression due to the correlation between men having higher levels of testosterone and committing more aggressive acts than women.

Cortisol research

Cortisol is a stress hormone. Nearly every cell in the body has receptors for cortisol, so its effects vary. Usually, it aids in the body’s response to chronic stress, affecting the immune system, muscles, and so on. The Fearlessness Theory suggests stress induced by cortisol can inhibit aggression through fear.

Overall, the link between neural and hormonal mechanisms and aggression is correlational, not causal. It’s not completely clear whether hormones affect aggression, or if aggression causes stimulation in hormone production.

Causes of aggression in psychology: genetic origins

Aggression is affected by hormones and neurotransmitters. So, where genetics are concerned, genes play an important role in affecting the production of these components which, in turn, affects aggression.

Genetic research on serotonin

According to Popova (2008), behaviours such as attacking, defending, and other aggressive traits that apply to both animals and humans are specifically related to serotonin as it has a role in the modulation of these behaviours. Namely, the functioning of a serotonin system relies on:

  • Synthesis (making) and appropriate degradation (scrubbing away) of serotonin. Serotonin uptake.

  • Serotonin 5-HT receptors/degradation.

  • Genes such as the PET-1 gene (covered in more detail elsewhere).

Genetic research on monoamine oxidase A (MAOA; the warrior gene)

Monoamine oxidase A (MAOA ; the warrior gene) gained notoriety in a 2006 study by Dr Rod Lea on New Zealand Māori men. It was suggested that those with the warrior gene exhibit higher levels of aggressive behaviours in response to provocation.

Aggression MAOA gene The Warrior Gene StudySmarterA section of chromosome X, showing the relative positions of MAOA and MAOB genes and mutations, Eccles et al.²

The MAOA gene codes for the production of the enzyme involved in breaking down neurotransmitters in the synapses between neurones. This is especially true for serotonin. When variants of this gene occur, it can result in lower production of the enzyme, causing neurotransmitters to remain in the synapse for longer, resulting in brain and behaviour dysfunction.

The warrior gene has been highly criticised for its unethical phrasing.

Genetic research on testosterone

Bogaert et al. (2008) found that testosterone has high levels of heritability in males, suggesting they are under strong genetic control. Similarly, Harden et al. (2014) found that individual differences in testosterone were substantially heritable in adolescent males, whereas there was no genetic heritability variation of testosterone for adolescent females. According to Harris et al. (1998), in men, 60% of the variance in testosterone levels is heritable.

Gender and aggression

Considering the association certain hormones have on aggression, Gender may play a role in aggressive behaviour tendencies. The super-male hypothesis, established by Sandberg (1961) suggests the mutation of having the XYY chromosome in males would lead to more aggression.

Multiple studies indicate that gender does have some role in aggression. Rissman et al. (2006) found the Sry gene was associated with high levels of aggression in mice. This gene leads to the development of the gonads and high androgen levels in males. Lagerspetz et al. (1992) found that girls tended to be indirectly aggressive, and boys were equally as indirectly aggressive but more directly aggressive.

General criticisms of genetic research into aggression

Genetic research receives criticism such as:

  • Having issues with reductionism

  • Being deterministic

  • Animal studies being compared to humans are not generalisable

Aggression Genetic causes of aggression in psychology DNA StudySmarterDNA with sample, Flaticon

Causes of aggression in psychology: ethological explanations

Aggression can be studied and explained by analysing non-human animal behaviours and comparing them to humans. Innate releasing mechanisms (IRM) and fixed action patterns (FAP) will be highlighted, including the Hydraulic model of instinctive behaviour (Lorenz, 1950).

What is ethology?

Ethology is a comparative study of non-human animals in their natural environments (APA Dictionary of Psychology, 2021).

Konrad Lorenz suggested that aggression in animals is innate, an instinctual process to help species maximise their resources (food, space, and other necessities). Fights within species occur till one backs down, not to the death, to avoid killing off their own species. This is why some animals growl or snarl as a warning first.

What are innate releasing mechanisms (IRM)?

Innate releasing mechanisms (IRMs) are where animals have evolved to have a specific response to certain stimuli. The animals have a fixed action pattern when faced with a particular releasor so, in effect, an IRM is where a neural sensorimotor interface links and creates a response between a stimulus and the fixed action pattern (Ewert, 2013).

What are fixed action patterns (FAPs)?

Fixed action patterns are an ethological term used to describe instinctive behaviours in a species, usually a reflexive action in response to a stressor. They’re said to be a result of innate releasing mechanisms and, once the action occurs, FAPs have to run their course. In other words, once they start, they cannot be stopped.

What is the hydraulic model of instinctive behaviour?

Lorenz first introduced the term in the 1950s when discussing the instinctive pressures and need for release, shared by Freud’s psychoanalytic theory, concerning violence that occurs between members of the same species.

Lorenz suggests that all animals create a reservoir of pent up energy, known as Action Specific Energy. IRM’s trigger FAP, which releases this energy, and as a result, aggression levels lower until this reservoir is filled up again. Lorenz claims that this reservoir builds up because the present-day man cannot discharge his aggression.

Aggression Hydraulic Model Of Instinctive Behaviour StudySmarterKonrad Lorenzs psychohydraulic model of drive/motivation/releasers and behaviour - Shyamal, Wikimedia Commons

Evolutionary explanations of aggression

Evolutionary explanations of aggression cite natural selection as a large part of why aggression has developed the way it has in humans. Therefore, aggression is an adaptive response that serves a purpose in both survival and reproduction.

Aggression is adaptive

Aggression is an adaptive response to the need to fight for survival and resources. If an animal's last piece of meat is being fought for by a competing animal, an aggressive act to secure it would increase each animal’s chance of survival if they choose to fight for it and win.

Inter-group and intra-group aggression

Inter-group aggression is where aggression occurs between two groups of the same species, known as 'ingroup' and ‘outgroup’ based on where the individuals identify themselves. It is essentially us vs. them. For example, a pride of lions sees another pride of lions, or in gangs in human behaviours. The behaviour the outgroup exhibits is undesirable to the ingroup.

Intra-group aggression occurs when members of an ingroup show aggression to each other, usually forming due to jealousy/rivalry, for instance, in a group of competing males the need to be the sexually dominant one.

General criticisms of evolutionary research into aggression

Concerning evolutionary research into aggression, criticisms include:

  • Issues with reductionism

  • The evolutionary theories being deterministic

  • A lack of ethical considerations and issues with gender implications against women (as it justifies abuse)

Causes of aggression in psychology: social-psychological explanation

Social-psychological explanation of aggression includes social learning theory, including reference to Bandura's study, the Bobo Doll Experiment, deindividuation, and the Frustration-Aggression Theory. Social-psychological explanations of aggression suggest children learn by observing others.

Social learning theory of aggression: Bandura and the Bobo doll experiment

Social learning theory of aggression claims aggression is learnt through observation, imitation, and reinforcement (positive or negative, direct or vicarious).

The Bobo Doll experiment supported Bandura’s claims, as it showed that children can learn behaviours through observation alone. In contrast to the control group, the children exposed to aggressive behaviours tended to exhibit aggressive behaviours themselves as a result.

The deindividuation theory, proposed by Festinger et al. (1952), states that, if humans believe they can get away with doing aggressive behaviours, they will do so. Anonymity will increase this phenomenon. Fraser and Burchell (2001) define deindividuation as:

A process whereby normal constraints on behaviour are weakened as persons lose their sense of individuality.

The contagion theory is suggested to be the start of deindividuation.

The frustration-aggression theory

The frustration-aggression theory states that frustration leads to aggressive behaviours, as frustration is a result of an inability to do a certain action or reach a certain goal. Due to this, a need to release this energy occurs and the frustration is released as aggression, sometimes to a source that isn’t the main cause of the frustration.

Institutional theories of aggression in the context of prisons

Institutional theories of aggression in the context of prisons involve the situational approach and the dispositional approach.

Aggression Institutional theories of aggression in the context of prisons StudySmarterPrisoner behind bars, Flaticon

The situational approach: Sykes’ (1958) Deprivation Model

The situational approach (Sykes, 1958) is the idea that prisons make people more aggressive due to deprivation of their liberties, rather than the prisoners being at that level of aggression before being sentenced. The environment is the cause, in a sense.

The situational approach: dysfunctional institutions

This is where the manifestation of aggression is placed on the institution and organisation, focused on the hierarchy in place.

Milgram believed people were loyal to such hierarchies and would obey if necessary. Similar to this is the Stanford Prison Experiment, where Zimbardo (1971) found that those who were given the authoritative title of ‘Prison Guard’ became more aggressive towards those given the title of ‘Prisoner’, despite neither side earning the title officially. This is a dysfunctional power system in an institution inducing aggression in people.

Dispositional explanation: the importation model

This model focuses on the behaviour and beliefs of prisoners before they enter prison. Irwin and Cressey (1962) argued that prisoners were often violent and aggressive before prison and, therefore, naturally inclined to behave this way inside prison. This is known as the Importation Model. A prison is an aggressive place because the people there are aggressive.

Media influences on aggression

Media use has risen considerably in recent years. As a result, some have hypothesised that this increase has caused issues with aggression.

Influence of computer games

The blame for aggression has often been pinned on different media sources. The common trend today is to target computer games, such as Call of Duty (a popular war game) and Grand Theft Auto (a popular game involving committing crimes).

Different theories support and disprove this idea. Learning Theories are referenced (i.e., Skinner, Anderson and Drill, Bandura), alongside the general aggression model and the neurological effects of playing violent games.

Media influences consider:

Aggression Influence of computer games StudySmarterGame controller, Flaticon

Evaluation of studies on media

Studies suggest that individuals are can be affected by media especially if they are young and exposed to it before they learn what is socially acceptable. However, various studies may fail to acknowledge the field settings properly, e.g., are they experiencing violence at home due to abuse?

Overall, the study of media’s effect on violence is still in its early stage, and the concept needs to be explored more.

Finally, how does one reduce aggression in psychology?

Reducing aggression involves a person understanding the causes of their aggression and learning new responses and appropriate behaviours, rather than allowing the frustration to build and then explode itself into aggression. Therapies, talking it out, and self-control will help reduce aggression.


Aggression - Key takeaways

  • Aggression in psychology refers to behaviours that could harm yourself, others or could affect objects in the environment. This harm can be physical or psychological and usually manifests in an attempt to harm others.
  • There are different explanations for aggression: genetics, social-psychological explanations, and the influences of institutional incarceration and media.
  • Genetics considers the role of neurotransmitters, hormones, and the warrior gene.
  • Social-psychological explanations consider social learning theories and the frustration-aggression theory.
  • Institutional theories consider the situational approach and the dysfunctional approach, as well as the importation model.
  • Media influences include computer games, cognitive priming, desensitisation, and disinhibition.

Frequently Asked Questions about Aggression

Similar to reducing aggression, controlling aggression involves self-awareness and knowing what can trigger aggressive behaviour, and learning how to give appropriate responses.

Aggression in psychology refers to behaviours that could harm yourself, others or could affect objects in the environment. 

Reducing aggression involves a person understanding the causes of their aggression and learning new responses and appropriate behaviours, rather than allowing the frustration to build and then explode itself into aggression. Therapies, talking it out, and self-control will help reduce aggression.

This can be done in several ways, mainly by counting how many times a person is aggressive in response to a stimulus or trigger and the intensity of the aggression on a scale/ratio. 

These usually include harming others or destroying the environment, such as breaking a door by punching it or throwing something.

Final Aggression Quiz

Question

What is aggression in psychology?

Show answer

Answer

Aggression in psychology refers to behaviours that could harm yourself, others or could affect objects in the environment.

Show question

Question

What do neural and hormonal mechanisms include?

Show answer

Answer

The limbic system, serotonin, testosterone and cortisol research.

Show question

Question

Name three important structures in the limbic system.

Show answer

Answer

The hypothalamus, the amygdala, and the hippocampus.

Show question

Question

What is the serotonin-deficiency hypothesis?

Show answer

Answer

Decreased levels of serotonin reduce self-control and may increase impulsivity. This includes behaviours such as aggression.

Show question

Question

What are the genetic explanations for aggression? 


Show answer

Answer

The Warrior Gene (MAOA), serotonin, testosterone, cortisol and gender.

Show question

Question

How does the MAOA gene affect aggression?

Show answer

Answer

The monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) gene codes for the production of the enzyme involved in breaking down neurotransmitters in the synapses between neurones. This is especially true for serotonin, although it affects other neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. When variants of this gene occur, it can result in lower production of the enzyme, causing neurotransmitters to remain in the synapse for longer, resulting in brain dysfunction.

Show question

Question

What are the social-psychological explanations for aggression?

Show answer

Answer

Social learning theory, involving the Bobo Doll and Bandura, De-individuation, and the frustration-aggression hypothesis.

Show question

Question

What did the Bobo Doll experiment show? 


Show answer

Answer

Children can learn aggressive behaviours through observation alone.

Show question

Question

What are the approaches in institutional theories of aggression?

Show answer

Answer

The situational approach, involving the Sykes deprivation model, the dysfunctional institution, and the importation model.

Show question

Question

What did the importation model suggest?

Show answer

Answer

It suggests that prisoners are violent and aggressive outside of prison, so when they are in prison, they bring that aggression with them, and this is why prisons tend to be places full of aggression and violence.

Show question

Question

What are the different types of media influences? 


Show answer

Answer

These include TV, Films, computer games and books.

Show question

Question

What is cognitive priming?

Show answer

Answer

Cognitive priming relies on schemas and cognitive scripts. These are the building blocks of the mind and automatic thoughts. Schemas exist to tell us what should happen based on previous experiences, and cognitive scripts are the way our body responds to this new or old situation based on these experiences.

Show question

Question

What is desensitisation?

Show answer

Answer

If someone is exposed to violent acts or emotions frequently, they may become desensitised to it, and view it as normal, despite societal views on it. They no longer have strong emotional responses to a distressing stimulus, and may not be as empathetic as a result.

Show question

Question

What is ethology?

Show answer

Answer

Ethology is where we study animals and then translate the results and try to explain behaviours and psychology by linking them to humans. It’s a comparative study of nonhuman animals in their natural environments.

Show question

Question

What is a fixed action pattern? 


Show answer

Answer

Fixed action patterns, coined by Lorenz, are an ethological term used to describe instinctive behaviours in a species, usually a reflexive action in response to a stressor.

Show question

Question

What are the evolutionary explanations for aggression?

Show answer

Answer

Aggression is adaptive, and inter and intragroup aggression.

Show question

Question

How is aggression adaptive? 


Show answer

Answer

If the last piece of meat for an animal is being fought for by a competing animal, an aggressive act to secure it would increase the first animals chance of survival, and the second animals chance as well. Aggression is an adaptive response to ensure survival through acts like these. 

Show question

Question

Define aggression.

Show answer

Answer

Aggression is any behaviour that intends to harm others psychologically or physically.

Show question

Question

What was the limbic system originally referred to as?

Show answer

Answer

 The Papez circuit.

Show question

Question

What does the limbic system comprise of?


Show answer

Answer

The hypothalamus, the hippocampus, the amygdala, and the cingulate gyrus. (There are more components, however we care about these areas for the exam!)

Show question

Question

What is the amygdala considered to be?

Show answer

Answer

The amygdala is considered the emotional centre of the brain, particularly for fear and threatening stimuli.

Show question

Question

What does the hypothalamus do?


Show answer

Answer

The hypothalamus regulates emotional responses and the autonomic nervous system (ANS).

Show question

Question

What does the hippocampus do?


Show answer

Answer

This is primarily involved in long term memories.

Show question

Question

What response begins in the amygdala and is important in aggression?

Show answer

Answer

The fight or flight response starts in the amygdala and can involve aggression. As these components are involved in mood regulation and emotional responses, it stands to reason that they are essential in the regulation of aggression.

Show question

Question

What is serotonin?


Show answer

Answer

It is a neurotransmitter.

Show question

Question

 How do levels of serotonin affect aggression?

Show answer

Answer

Serotonin is a mood regulator, affecting aggression if it is too low. Low levels of serotonin are correlated with aggressive behaviours.

Show question

Question

What is testosterone?


Show answer

Answer

Testosterone is an androgen that is important in the development of the body, especially in males.

Show question

Question

Is testosterone the key driving force behind aggression?

Show answer

Answer

Some consider this so, as it is directly related to aggressive and dominant behaviours, particularly in males.

Show question

Question

What is the basal model of testosterone?


Show answer

Answer

The Basal Model: This suggests that testosterone changes a person’s level of dominance.

Show question

Question

What is the reciprocal model of testosterone?


Show answer

Answer

The Reciprocal Model: This suggests testosterone levels are determined by a person’s standing in their social hierarchy, which determines their dominance levels.

Show question

Question

What is cortisol?


Show answer

Answer

It is said to be the ‘stress hormone’.

Show question

Question

What is the fearlessness theory in aggression?


Show answer

Answer

This theory suggests that stress caused by cortisol can inhibit aggression through fear. Lower levels of cortisol mean behaviours are less inhibited.

Show question

Question

Who first proposed the limbic circuit?

Show answer

Answer

Papez, in 1937.

Show question

Question

How does the limbic system process information?

Show answer

Answer

It processes it hierarchically.

Show question

Question

What are the main components of the limbic system?

Show answer

Answer

The amygdala, the hippocampus, the hypothalamus, and the cingulate gyrus. (There are more components, but these are important for the exam!)

Show question

Question

What are the functions of the hippocampus?

Show answer

Answer

It is involved in the formation of long-term memories and learning. It is also involved in spatial awareness and navigation.

Show question

Question

What are the functions of the hypothalamus?

Show answer

Answer

It is crucial in regulating the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which regulates emotional responses. Damage here can cause inappropriate responses to perceived threats.

Show question

Question

What are the functions of the amygdala?

Show answer

Answer

It is the emotional centre of the brain, processing fear-inducing and threatening stimuli and how they are linked/associated with memory. It integrates emotions with motivational behaviours.

Show question

Question

What are the functions of the cingulate gyrus?

Show answer

Answer

Regulating aggression, emotional responses to pain, communication and maternal bonding, amongst other functions.

Show question

Question

What response starts in the amygdala?

Show answer

Answer

The fight or flight response.

Show question

Question

What is the amygdala, if stimulated, a good predictor of?

Show answer

Answer

Aggressive behaviours.

Show question

Question

What did Groves and Schlesinger find in their study?

Show answer

Answer

In this study, the amygdala was surgically removed to reduce aggression in violent individuals. However, it affects emotion overall and suggests the amygdala is linked to aggression but is not the cause.

Show question

Question

What did Gospic et al. find in their study?

Show answer

Answer

In the ultimatum game, there was a heightened response by the amygdala in response to rejected, unfair offers, more noticeably in males than females.

Show question

Question

How is the link between the limbic system and aggression only correlational?

Show answer

Answer

The research suggests there’s an association between the two. However, the studies only show a correlational link between aggression and the limbic system. It is not a direct cause.

Show question

Question

Abnormalities in the limbic system are caused by aggression, true or false?

Show answer

Answer

False. It cannot be proven that the abnormalities cause or result from aggression.

Show question

Question

What problems did Wong et al. have in their study?

Show answer

Answer

Issues with beta bias. Although there were structural differences in the aggressive, reoffending inmates, they could not apply it to females, as the study was a small sample size of males.

Show question

Question

How does the prefrontal cortex affect the amygdala?

Show answer

Answer

It inhibits it to help regulate aggression.

Show question

Question

What is serotonin?

Show answer

Answer

It is a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and a hormone in the peripheral nervous system.

Show question

Question

What is serotonin key in?

Show answer

Answer

Mood regulation and feeling relaxed, calm, and happy.

Show question

Question

What widespread effect does serotonin have on the brain?

Show answer

Answer

An inhibitory effect.

Show question

Question

What else can serotonin aid in?


Show answer

Answer

Sleeping, digestion, eating, healing wounds.

Show question

Question

What amino acid is the building block of serotonin?


Show answer

Answer

Tryptophan.

Show question

Question

How is the orbitofrontal cortex involved in aggression?


Show answer

Answer

When serotonin levels are normal, it helps inhibit impulsive, aggressive behaviours received from the amygdala.

Show question

Question

What happens if serotonin levels are low in the OFC?


Show answer

Answer

It cannot control or regulate impulsive, aggressive behaviours properly.

Show question

Question

What is the serotonin-deficiency hypothesis?


Show answer

Answer

Decreased levels of serotonin cause a reduced inhibitory effect, affecting the OFC and causing more impulsive and aggressive behaviours.

Show question

Question

What did Crockett et al. (2012) find in their study?

Show answer

Answer

Lowering serotonin levels resulted in weakened communication between the amygdala and frontal cortex. Their studies suggest that low serotonin levels are the reason why the frontal cortex struggles inhibiting and controlling the amygdala's aggressive impulses.

Show question

Question

What did Coccaro et al. (2007) find?


Show answer

Answer

Those with IED had exaggerated amygdala reactivity and diminished OFC activation to angry faces, compared to the controls. The findings show an amygdala-OFC dysfunction in response to processing angry faces, supporting the connection between the OFC and the amygdala.

Show question

Question

What did Brown et al. (1979) find in their study?


Show answer

Answer

Low levels of 5HIAA were found in the spinal fluid of military men with aggressive behaviour tendencies. 5HIAA levels had a significantly negative correlation with a history of aggressive behaviours in these men. To put it simply, they had lower levels of this byproduct of serotonin being broken down.


Show question

Question

How is serotonin associated with melatonin?


Show answer

Answer

Serotonin is associated with melatonin synthesis.

Show question

Question

What can low levels of serotonin do to your sleeping patterns? 


Show answer

Answer

It can cause insomnia.

Show question

Question

What happens if you have normal levels of serotonin?


Show answer

Answer

You have little or no aggressive behaviours and can feel relaxed and in control of your emotions.

Show question

Question

Do serotonin and aggression have a causal relationship?


Show answer

Answer

No, context matters. Both the individual and their social environment affect the aggressive behaviours, even with abnormal serotonin levels.

Show question

Question

What is testosterone?

Show answer

Answer

It is an androgen and an anabolic steroid. It is a hormone.

Show question

Question

Where is testosterone produced?

Show answer

Answer

In the gonads and the adrenal cortex.

Show question

Question

What does testosterone enable?


Show answer

Answer

Testosterone enables the development of male characteristics, and secondary ‘male’ characteristics such as muscle and skeletal growth, as well as body hair and facial hair.

Show question

Question

What happens if testosterone levels are low during puberty in men?

Show answer

Answer

When there is not enough testosterone in the body, especially for males undergoing puberty, the development of male characteristics is affected, such as hair growth on the body and face, as well as affecting healthy sexual development.

Show question

Question

What are examples of aggressive behaviours?


Show answer

Answer

Anger, verbal aggression, dominance, competitiveness.

Show question

Question

How does testosterone affect the amygdala?


Show answer

Answer

Testosterone activates the amygdala, enhancing its resistance to regulation from the prefrontal cortex (PFC), and increasing its emotional reaction to stimuli.

Show question

Question

What helps mediate testosterone and the amygdala/frontal cortexes?


Show answer

Answer

Cortisol and serotonin.

Show question

Question

What is the Basal Model?

Show answer

Answer

The Basal Model of testosterone suggests that testosterone changes a person’s level of dominance.

Show question

Question

What is the Reciprocal Model?


Show answer

Answer

Testosterone is determined by a person’s standing in their social hierarchy, which determines their dominance levels.

Show question

Question

What did Kreuz and Rose (1972) find in their study?

Show answer

Answer

They measured testosterone levels in prisoners. Those who had committed violent crimes or had a history of aggressive behaviours had higher levels of testosterone compared to those who didn’t have this history.

Show question

Question

What did Dabbs et al. (1987) find in their study?


Show answer

Answer

They measured the testosterone levels in the saliva of 89 prisoners: 9 out of 11 inmates with low testosterone levels had committed nonviolent crimes in their past, whereas 10 out of 11 inmates with high testosterone levels had committed violent crimes in their past.

Show question

Question

What does Mazur (1985) say about testosterone and dominance?


Show answer

Answer

High levels of testosterone are positively correlated with levels of dominance.

Show question

Question

In those who are transitioning, what does an increase in testosterone cause when they take supplements?


Show answer

Answer

Increased levels of anger/aggression.

Show question

Question

What did Mazur and Michalek (1998) find in their study?

Show answer

Answer

Men who were going through a divorce had higher testosterone levels than those who were still married.

Show question

Question

What is cortisol?

Show answer

Answer

Cortisol is a steroid hormone that acts on the body in multiple ways, usually in stress response.

Show question

Question

Where is cortisol produced?

Show answer

Answer

In the adrenal glands.

Show question

Question

What regulates cortisol production?

Show answer

Answer

The pituitary gland, which the hypothalamus controls.

Show question

Question

What are the functions of cortisol?

Show answer

Answer

Controls stress responses in the body, affects blood sugar levels, regulates metabolism, influences blood pressure and heart rate, and affects inflammation.

Show question

Question

How do stress and cortisol affect the body?

Show answer

Answer

When stressed, cortisol levels rise and increase heart rate, blood pressure (through narrowing blood vessels), and glucose levels in the blood. It activates the flight or fight response.

Show question

Question

What does cortisol act as in relation to aggression?

Show answer

Answer

Cortisol acts as a hormonal modulator of aggression.

Show question

Question

What other hormone works alongside cortisol as a modulator of aggression?

Show answer

Answer

Testosterone.

Show question

Question

How does cortisol affect testosterone in aggression?

Show answer

Answer

Cortisol inhibits testosterone.

Show question

Question

What happens when cortisol levels are low?

Show answer

Answer

Lower cortisol levels have been linked to higher aggression levels, as it isn’t inhibiting testosterone.

Show question

Question

What is the fearlessness theory?


Show answer

Answer

This theory suggests the stress caused by cortisol can inhibit aggression through fear. Lower levels of cortisol mean behaviours are less inhibited.

Show question

Question

What did Goozen et al. (2004) find in their study?

Show answer

Answer

Startle-elicited blinks were significantly lower in DBD children for all slides. The more delinquent the DBD children were, the lower their startle response was during negative slides. The study suggests a form of deficit in the DBD’s children fearing modulation capabilities.

Show question

Question

What did Virkkunen (1985) find?

Show answer

Answer

Among male violent offenders, those who were habitually violent and had antisocial personalities had low cortisol levels compared with other violent offenders, antisocial personalities who did not habitually commit violent crimes, and male clinicians.

Show question

Question

What did Kruk et al. (2004) find?

Show answer

Answer

In rats, when stimulating their aggression centres in the brain, there was rapid, positive feedback between the adrenocortical stress response (the fight-or-flight mechanism; your body anticipating action due to stress) and a brain mechanism controlling aggression.

Show question

Question

What did Bokhoven et al. (2005) find?

Show answer

Answer

Among boys screened for aggressive or violent behaviour from childhood to adulthood, those with conduct disorder (CD, a form of DBD known to be the more physically aggressive subgroup) had higher cortisol levels than boys without CD.

Show question

Question

How is the cortisol argument reductionist?

Show answer

Answer

It suggests aggression is biologically controlled and ignores the nuances of human nature.

Show question

Question

What is serotonin?

Show answer

Answer

It is a neurotransmitter.

Show question

Question

If a person has normal serotonin levels, what can they usually do?

Show answer

Answer

Normal levels of serotonin in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) correlate with greater self-control levels. Decreased levels of serotonin usually mean a person acts more impulsively.

Show question

Question

What are the critical components of a functioning serotonin system?

Show answer

Answer

Serotonin synthesis, serotonin transportation/uptake, and serotonin receptors/degradation.

Show question

Question

Do genes have direct control over behaviours?

Show answer

Answer

No. Genes may not directly affect behaviour, but how genes act on the regulators, i.e., the neurotransmitters that influence behaviours, are how they affect behaviours.

Show question

Question

What amino acid produces serotonin?

Show answer

Answer

The amino acid tryptophan.

Show question

Question

What important enzyme is part of tryptophan?

Show answer

Answer

Tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH).

Show question

Question

What breaks down serotonin?

Show answer

Answer

Monoamine oxidase A and B (MAOA and MAOB).

Show question

Question

What did Cases et al. (1995) find in their study?

Show answer

Answer

For mice who had their MAOA gene deleted, serotonin concentrations increased ninefold, as MAOA could no longer break down the serotonin in the mice’s brains. Adult male mice showed increases in aggressive behaviours.

Show question

Question

What did Walther et al. (2003) find in their study?

Show answer

Answer

The TPH gene was not the only one in the genome that affects serotonin synthesis. TPH affects serotonin levels in the blood, periphery tissues, and pineal gland. TPH2 is what affects serotonin levels in the brain.

Show question

Question

What did Kulikov et al. (2005) find in their study?

Show answer

Answer

In this study on mice, the TPH2 gene was genetically altered (knockout mice) to see its effects on serotonin and aggression. They changed a particular section of the allele from C to G on the gene. Mice who had the original C gene had higher levels of 5-HT. These mice were more prone to attacking other mice if they intruded on their territory.

Show question

Question

What did Holmes et al. (2002) find in their study?

Show answer

Answer

In this study, the serotonin transporter (5-HTT, or SERT) was knocked out, and they assessed the aggression level of these mice in cages. The SERT deficient mice were less inclined or slower overall with attacking the intruder than the controls.

Show question

Question

What did Brunner et al. (1993) find in their study?

Show answer

Answer

Brunner et al. (1993) assessed a Dutch family and found a genetic issue causing a mutation in the structure of the MAOA gene. 14 affected men had complex behavioural issues (related explicitly to aggression) and were affected by a syndrome of borderline mental retardation.

Show question

Question

What did Williams et al. (2003) find in their study?

Show answer

Answer

Women with specific genotypes had higher levels of 5HIAA (a byproduct of the breakdown of serotonin) than men. Similarly, African Americans with particular genotypes had higher levels of 5HIAA, too, when compared to Caucasians.

Show question

Question

What do we mean when we say knockout mice?

Show answer

Answer

In this case, it means the gene in these mice has been altered/deleted or knocked out.

Show question

Question

Is the evidence for serotonin causing aggression causal?

Show answer

Answer

No. It is causal in its relation to mood regulation, but not for aggression. It is only correlational.

Show question

Question

What is the MAOA gene?

Show answer

Answer

We refer to the monoamine oxidase A gene when talking about the MAOA gene.

Show question

Question

What does the MAOA gene do?

Show answer

Answer

The MAOA gene codes for producing the enzyme MAOs (monoamine oxidases), involved in breaking down neurotransmitters in the synapses between neurones.

Show question

Question

Where is the MAOA gene found?

Show answer

Answer

The gene is found on the X chromosome.

Show question

Question

Why would dysfunction of the MAOA gene affect a person’s mood?

Show answer

Answer

The gene codes for enzymes that break down neurotransmitters such as serotonin. If the gene cannot do this properly, these neurotransmitters are left in the synaptic cleft for longer and affect a person’s mood.

Show question

Question

Who re-introduced the Warrior Gene and gave it the ethically questionable connotations?

Show answer

Answer

Dr. Rod Lea.

Show question

Question

What traits are associated with the warrior gene?

Show answer

Answer

Aggressive behaviours, risk-taking, addiction issues, and psychiatric disorders are associated with the warrior gene.

Show question

Question

How many Mãori men had the MAOA gene variant compared to Caucasian men?

Show answer

Answer

56% of the Mãori men had this MAO-30bp-rpt allele, almost double that of Caucasian men analysed in a different study.

Show question

Question

What did Brunner et al. (1993) find in their study?

Show answer

Answer

There was a point mutation in the MAOA structural gene (specifically the eighth axon). This changed how this gene coded for the enzyme production, which caused issues with the breakdown of neurotransmitters.

Show question

Question

What did the men in Brunner et al. (1993) show in their behaviours?

Show answer

Answer

The behaviours of the men in Brunner et al. (1993) consisted of impulsive aggression, arson, and attempted rape.

Show question

Question

What did Lea state the Mãori men were more likely to be like?

Show answer

Answer

‘Obviously, this means they are going to be more aggressive and violent and more likely to get involved in risk-taking behaviour like gambling.’

Show question

Question

What reportedly is the cause of the high occurrence of the MAOA (warrior) gene in the Mãori men?

Show answer

Answer

Lea suggested this was due to the nature of the Mãori men’s past; they had to engage in many risk-taking behaviours, such as migration and fighting for survival, which has led to aggressive behaviours in the present, modern-day, and a genetic bottleneck.

Show question

Question

Give a strength of the genetic research on the MAOA gene.

Show answer

Answer

The MAOA gene is fundamentally linked to mood due to producing enzymes that deal with neurotransmitters. Mood and behaviours will also be affected if the gene is affected. This suggests a genetic component to behaviour and moods, particularly aggression, and validates the genetic research on the MAOA gene.

Show question

Question

What did Caspi et al. (2002) find in their study?

Show answer

Answer

They found that the MAOA gene was important in moderating the effect of maltreatment. If children had a genotype that expressed high levels of MAOA, they were less likely to develop antisocial behaviours after suffering maltreatment.

Show question

Question

Give one weakness of the genetic research on the MAOA gene.

Show answer

Answer

McDermott et al. (2009) found in their study that the MAOA gene is not explicitly tied to aggression, even in low provocation conditions. Instead, it predicts aggressive behaviours in high provocation situations.

Show question

Question

Is the ‘warrior gene’ unethical?

Show answer

Answer

Yes, the ‘warrior gene’ is unethical as it has racial overtones that unfairly describe a race of people as aggressive due to their genetic makeup.

Show question

Question

What is testosterone?

Show answer

Answer

It is an androgen and anabolic steroid.

Show question

Question

What is the neuroendocrine system?

Show answer

Answer

A neuroendocrine system is a group of neurones, glands, and other tissues that regulate homeostasis (this is the normal, steady, and optimal state of the body).

Show question

Question

Why do brain centres arouse the neuroendocrine system during aggressive behaviours?

Show answer

Answer

This metabolic arousal results in the expression of aggression through mobilising the body’s muscles.

Show question

Question

Where is testosterone produced?

Show answer

Answer

The Leydig cells in the testes produce testosterone (remember, testosterone is produced in the gonads for both sexes).

Show question

Question

What gene is involved in the production of testosterone in Leydig cells?

Show answer

Answer

The NR2F2 gene.

Show question

Question

What did Bogaert et al. (2008) find in their study?

Show answer

Answer

They found the sex steroid concentrations (testosterone, etc.) and the body composition factor had significant heritability, with testosterone being the highest. They concluded that these two factors are under strong genetic control.

Show question

Question

What did Meikle et al. (1986) find in their study?

Show answer

Answer

In twins whose blood levels (especially testosterone) were measured, the familial influence was more significant in MZ twins than in DZ twins, which was true for all measurements except SHBG.

Show question

Question

What did Brunner et al. (1993) prove in their study?

Show answer

Answer

They proved that specific genes influence aggressive behaviours by identifying a mutation in the MAOA gene.

Show question

Question

What did Albert et al. (1993) summarise in their review?

Show answer

Answer

Although aggression in humans does have a biological root in defensive aggression, it’s not dependent on hormones such as testosterone.

Show question

Question

What did Harris et al. (1998) find in their study?

Show answer

Answer

In men, 60% of the variance in testosterone levels is heritable, despite the father-son resemblance issues. This finding suggests that genetic factors are expressed differently in adolescence and adulthood. In women, it was 40%.

Show question

Question

What did Sluyter et al. (2000) find in their study?

Show answer

Answer

Around 60% of the variation in testosterone levels were due to genetic factors. The genetic contribution to AHA (anger, hostility, aggression) syndrome was approximately 23% to 53%, which is a moderate heritability level.

Show question

Question

What did Sluyter et al. (2000) summarise with their study?

Show answer

Answer

Overall, they said that testosterone and aggression traits seem to have a solid genetic basis. However, there is a lack of evidence for genetic relation between the two, so it needs further investigation.

Show question

Question

What did Archer (1991) find in their review?

Show answer

Answer

Archer found overall that higher levels of testosterone in adults were usually indicators of higher levels of aggressiveness.

Show question

Question

What did Kreuz and Rose (1972) find in their study?

Show answer

Answer

Those who had committed violent crimes or had a history of aggressive behaviours had higher testosterone levels than those who didn’t have this history.

Show question

Question

What is homeostasis?


Show answer

Answer

This is the normal, steady, and optimal state of the body.

Show question

Question

What is gender referring to?

Show answer

Answer

Gender is a term that refers to the scale between masculinity and femininity.

Show question

Question

What is gender subject to when compared to biological sex?

Show answer

Answer

Gender, unlike the biological sex, is affected by social and cultural norms.

Show question

Question

What did Björkqvist (2018) find in their review concerning the differences between boys and girls and aggression?

Show answer

Answer

Boys use more physical aggression. In proportion to their overall aggression scores, girls use more indirect aggression. Both genders use direct verbal aggression equally. 

Show question

Question

What is indirect aggression?

Show answer

Answer

The person subjected to it may not easily identify indirect aggression.

Show question

Question

How did Björkqvist (2018) define indirect aggression?

Show answer

Answer

According to Björkqvist (2018), indirect aggression is a form of social manipulation intended to psychologically and/or socially harm the person. This aggression can be through gossip, manipulating social standings within a group, or even excluding a person altogether.

Show question

Question

What did Lagerspetz et al. (1988) find in their study?

Show answer

Answer

Overall, they found that girls used more indirect aggressive behaviour than boys who used different means. Social hierarchy was ‘tighter’ amongst girls, making it easier to manipulate relationships and harm those subject to indirect aggression.

Show question

Question

What did Björkqvist et al. (1992) find in their study?

Show answer

Answer

Older girls had greater overall use of indirect aggression. Boys used more direct means of aggression. They thought it was physical, differing from the girl’s preference of verbal.

Show question

Question

How did Björkqvist et al. (1992) develop on Lagerspetz et al. (1988) study?

Show answer

Answer

They included more ages, ranging from 8, 11, to 15-year-olds.

Show question

Question

What differences did Björkqvist et al. (1992) find between younger and older girls in their study?

Show answer

Answer

Indirect aggression wasn’t as present in 8-year-old girls but was prominent in 11-year-old girls.

Show question

Question

What did Österman et al. (1998) find in their study?

Show answer

Answer

They found that girls mostly used indirect aggression, similar to the previous studies, across nations and ethnic groups.

Show question

Question

How did Österman et al. (1998) improve upon the previous studies?

Show answer

Answer

They applied the studies to different countries to establish if the gender differences in aggression were cross-cultural.

Show question

Question

Are boys less indirectly aggressive than girls?

Show answer

Answer

No. They were equally indirectly aggressive. Girls just preferred this method of aggression, and boys preferred more direct methods.

Show question

Question

Are boys more aggressive?

Show answer

Answer

According to multiple studies, boys overall had higher scores and aggression levels than girls.

Show question

Question

Which study discussed the idea that boys are more aggressive overall?

Show answer

Answer

Card et al. (2005).

Show question

Question

What did Hauschka et al. (1962) find in their study?

Show answer

Answer

They found the existence of the super-male chromosome.

Show question

Question

What is the ethological approach to aggression?

Show answer

Answer

The ethological approach to aggression suggests our aggressive tendencies and behaviours are similar (at a base level) to animals. We can effectively assess aggression in animals and relate those aggressive tendencies to humans. 


Show question

Question

If a pack of hyenas behave aggressively to a lion to steal its food, is this an example of aggression in ethology?

Show answer

Answer

Yes, as aggression is an innate releasing mechanism to ensure the survival of either species.

Show question

Question

What did Lorenz suggest about aggression in animals?

Show answer

Answer

Konrad Lorenz suggested that aggression is innate in animals. Aggression builds up in the animal to be released when triggered by external stimuli. 

Show question

Question

Is aggression an instinctual process, according to Lorenz?

Show answer

Answer

Yes, it is an instinctual process that is passed on, rather than learnt, an innate releasing mechanism (IAM).

Show question

Question

Would members of the same species fight to the death for something?

Show answer

Answer

No. Most of the time, members of the same species will avoid fighting to death as this is counterproductive.

Show question

Question

What behaviours will an animal display instead of fighting as a warning? Is this an example of a fixed action pattern (FAP)?

Show answer

Answer

Baring their teeth, hissing, raising the hair on their backs, growling. Yes, it is an example of FAPs.

Show question

Question

What is ritualistic aggression?

Show answer

Answer

It refers to warning behaviours all members of the same species display when aggressive or defensive (baring teeth, hissing, growling).

Show question

Question

Why would an animal act aggressively?

Show answer

Answer

To secure territory, food, and mating rights.

Show question

Question

What are innate releasing mechanisms?

Show answer

Answer

Innate releasing mechanisms are ‘innate’, evolved responses to specific stimuli, in the sense that they exist within the animal as an inherited trait rather than a learnt one.

Show question

Question

What did Slackett (1966) find in their study?

Show answer

Answer

Isolated infant monkeys recognised threatening poses when shown images of other monkeys. Despite never being taught to do so by their mothers, they reacted defensively. They had innate responses to threatening stimuli.

Show question

Question

What are fixed action patterns?

Show answer

Answer

Innate releasing mechanisms are the inherited behaviour that inhibits aggression until the animal is exposed to external stimuli. When this happens, the animal displays a pre-programmed behaviour in response to it. This behaviour is known as the fixed action pattern (FAP).

Show question

Question

Name one strength of ethology.

Show answer

Answer

Any of the following: 

  • Biological components such as the limbic and neural systems affect aggression, suggesting it is biologically ingrained and innate. 
  • Fight or flight response is a clear example of ethology in humans; it is our innate response to threatening stimuli. 

Show question

Question

Name one weakness of ethology.

Show answer

Answer

  • Not comparable to humans (free will, premeditated aggression). 
  • Not universal across the human species. 
  • Not genuinely known if animals are being aggressive or just trying to survive.

Show question

Question

What did Nisbett et al. (1996) find in their study?

Show answer

Answer

Southern white men reacted more aggressively to a confederate man who called them names after bumping into them than northern men. This reaction suggests a cultural difference in aggression.

Show question

Question

What is a fixed action pattern?

Show answer

Answer

Fixed action patterns (FAPs) are instinctive behaviours in a species. They are a sequence of actions that respond to a stressor or cue (stimulus). FAPs are innate (not learned) and must be performed to their fullest extent, even when the stimulus is no longer present.

Show question

Question

Who came up with the concept of fixed action patterns?

Show answer

Answer

Konrad Lorenz.

Show question

Question

What is an innate releasing mechanism?

Show answer

Answer

Innate releasing mechanisms (IRMs) are instinctive responses evolved and passed on rather than learned – a hard-wired mechanism of the brain that acts as a release, in a sense. When an animal encounters a particular stimulus or event, it responds through a series of behaviours. These behaviours represent a neural network in the brain that responds to specific stimuli and triggers a specific sequence of actions directly responding to the stimulus.

Show question

Question

Name the six types of fixed action patterns.

Show answer

Answer

Stereotyped, complex, universal, triggered, released, unaffected by learning. 

Show question

Question

What do we mean by stereotyped fixed action patterns?

Show answer

Answer

FAPS follow a particular pattern and are unchanging. They are rigid and highly predictable, ‘stereotypical’.

Show question

Question

What do we mean by complex fixed action patterns?

Show answer

Answer

FAPs are not just a reflex and can be a set pattern of behaviours occurring in specific orders, in complex patterns.

Show question

Question

What do we mean by universal fixed action patterns?

Show answer

Answer

FAPs are found throughout the species in response to a specific threat.  

Show question

Question

What do we mean by triggered fixed action patterns?

Show answer

Answer

FAPs that have been triggered must be completed, even if the stimulus that triggered it is no longer present (also known as ballistic).

Show question

Question

What do we mean by released fixed action patterns?

Show answer

Answer

FAPs are a response to a specific stimulus, as in, it only occurs in certain scenarios. It is a response to a particular ‘releaser’.

Show question

Question

What do we mean by unaffected by learning fixed action patterns?

Show answer

Answer

FAPs are not learnt from the parent, apparent from the first instance of a FAP.

Show question

Question

Are fixed action patterns genetic?

Show answer

Answer

Somewhat, yes. There are genetic components to fixed action patterns, as genes influence behaviours to some extent. Fixed action patterns are behaviours innate in the species, not learnt from outside sources. 

Show question

Question

What did Niko Tinbergen find in his study on male sticklebacks?

Show answer

Answer

During the mating season, sticklebacks turn their bellies red and establish nesting territories. They are also aggressive toward other males to increase their chances of mating with females. Tinbergen placed wooden objects with and without a red underside near a male stickleback. The male stickleback was aggressive to the red underbelly objects, but not the objects without the red underbelly. 

Show question

Question

How do greylag geese display fixed action patterns?

Show answer

Answer

In their retrieval of displaced eggs, greylag would extend the neck over the egg and use the underside of its beak to roll it back into the nest upon noticing the egg. Even if the egg were moved, it would not stop this action; it had to complete the FAP. 

Show question

Question

How do the monkeys in Slackett’s study display fixed action patterns in response to aggression?

Show answer

Answer

Monkeys isolated from their mothers as infants were shown pictures of threatening and non-threatening poses of other monkeys. They reacted defensively to threatening pictures, even though they had never learnt this behaviour. Their defences were innate. 

Show question

Question

Why do studies on animals and fixed action patterns not fully apply to humans?

Show answer

Answer

Humans are subject to societal and cultural influence and evolve rapidly in behaviour, adapting to the situation at hand. The studies on animals do not apply to humans. 

Show question

Question

What is an innate releasing mechanism?

Show answer

Answer

Innate releasing mechanisms (IRM) are neural networks in the brain that react to a specific stimulus to elicit a particular response.

Show question

Question

What do innate releasing mechanisms (IRMs) trigger?

Show answer

Answer

They trigger a fixed action pattern (FAP).

Show question

Question

What is the difference between an innate releasing mechanism and a fixed action pattern?

Show answer

Answer

Innate releasing mechanisms are the hard-wired neural network within the brain that recognises a stimulus and then trigger the fixed action pattern. Fixed action patterns are a sequence of actions triggered BY the innate releasing mechanism. 

Show question

Question

Who came up with the term’ innate releasing mechanism’?

Show answer

Answer

Nick Tinbergen, after expanding on the work of Konrad Lorenz.

Show question

Question

Are innate releasing mechanisms instinctive?

Show answer

Answer

Yes, by being innate they are born within the animal and are instinctive as a result. 

Show question

Question

Summarise the egg-retrieval behaviour in greylag geese.

Show answer

Answer

An egg would have been displaced from the nest. The goose would first notice the egg (sign stimulus) and then extend its neck over it, so the egg is under the beak. Using the underside of the beak, the goose would then roll the egg back into the nest. 

Show question

Question

Do fixed action patterns have to be completed?

Show answer

Answer

Yes.

Show question

Question

Would the innate releasing mechanism activate for any egg-shaped object in greylag geese and egg-retrieval behaviours?

Show answer

Answer

Yes, as long as the object was similar in size, shape, and weight to an egg, it would elicit the same response in the goose. 

Show question

Question

What do we mean by the word ‘innate’ in psychology?

Show answer

Answer

Innate is an instinctive behaviour that is there when the animal is born. The young can perform something innate without having to learn it.

Show question

Question

What order of species have innate releasing mechanisms that trigger a fixed action pattern?

Show answer

Answer

Orthoptera, a species of insects that use sound to communicate (mating reasons.)

Show question

Question

Do humans have innate releasing mechanisms?

Show answer

Answer

This is not easy to establish, so we cannot confidently say yes or no. It is harder to identify in humans, but some examples are the knee-jerk reaction and yawning. Society and cultural norms affect human behaviours too much. 

Show question

Question

What problems do innate releasing mechanisms have?

Show answer

Answer

They are reductionist, ignore human free will, and it is hard to measure intent in animals truly, so we cannot say if an IRM or FAP is due to aggression. 

Show question

Question

Name an example of innate releasing mechanisms and fixed action patterns in animals.

Show answer

Answer

Upon seeing a red underbelly of another stickleback, male sticklebacks will begin a fixed action pattern of aggressive behaviours in response. 

Show question

Question

What is a sign stimulus/releaser?

Show answer

Answer

This is the object or stimulus that triggers an innate releasing mechanism and fixed action pattern. 

Show question

Question

Can a fixed acton pattern be stopped once an innate releasing mechanism has triggered it?

Show answer

Answer

No.

Show question

Question

What is the hydraulic model of instinctive behaviour?

Show answer

Answer

The hydraulic model of instinctive behaviour is a concept Konrad Lorenz developed to demonstrate the release of pent-up aggression in animals (innate releasing mechanisms), specifically by showing a reservoir of motivation/aggression. A sign stimulus releases this reservoir to cause fixed action patterns to specific stimuli.

Show question

Question

Who proposed the hydraulic model of instinctive behaviour?

Show answer

Answer

Konrad Lorenz (1950).

Show question

Question

How does the hydraulic model relate to innate releasing mechanisms and fixed action patterns?

Show answer

Answer

It ties them together to show how aggression builds up and is released in an animal.

Show question

Question

What does Lorenz’s hydraulic model derive from?

Show answer

Answer

Freud’s work. 

Show question

Question

What did Konrad Lorenz believe about aggression?

Show answer

Answer

He believed it was inevitable, particularly for males, as they are biologically programmed to fight for survival. 

Show question

Question

What components exist in the hydraulic model?

Show answer

Answer

The components are:

  • The drive/motivation (liquid) building up in the reservoir (pent-up aggression).
  • The weight and sign stimulus clogging the reservoir and releasing to initiate behaviours.  

Show question

Question

What is action-specific energy?

Show answer

Answer

It is the pent-up aggression accumulating in the reservoir. 

Show question

Question

What happens in the hydraulic model when seeing the specific stimuli or sign stimulus?

Show answer

Answer

The weight releases, resulting in the release of aggression and fixed action patterns.

Show question

Question

What is behavioural quiescence?

Show answer

Answer

It is where aggression levels lower in an animal following the release of pent-up aggression. 

Show question

Question

What happened in the study by Rhoad and Katal (1975)?

Show answer

Answer

To appear threatening, Siamese fighting fish puffed up in response to stimuli that looked like other male fish – a fixed action pattern.

Show question

Question

What is vacuum activity?

Show answer

Answer

In vacuum activity, pent-up aggression is released in the absence of the sign stimulus. 

Show question

Question

Motivation increases as time goes on – true or false?

Show answer

Answer

True. The reservoir then builds up again in the hydraulic model. 

Show question

Question

What does the hydraulic model fail to consider?

Show answer

Answer

It fails to consider the ability to learn and adapt fixed action patterns during development in animals. 

Show question

Question

The hydraulic model fails to acknowledge premeditated aggression – true or false?

Show answer

Answer

True. 

Show question

Question

What happened in the study by Arms et al. (1979)?

Show answer

Answer

Arms et al. (1979) found aggression and hostility in male and female spectators of sports increase rather than decrease after viewing the events. However, this was not the case for the non-competitive events.

Show question

60%

of the users don't pass the Aggression quiz! Will you pass the quiz?

Start Quiz

Discover the right content for your subjects

No need to cheat if you have everything you need to succeed! Packed into one app!

Study Plan

Be perfectly prepared on time with an individual plan.

Quizzes

Test your knowledge with gamified quizzes.

Flashcards

Create and find flashcards in record time.

Notes

Create beautiful notes faster than ever before.

Study Sets

Have all your study materials in one place.

Documents

Upload unlimited documents and save them online.

Study Analytics

Identify your study strength and weaknesses.

Weekly Goals

Set individual study goals and earn points reaching them.

Smart Reminders

Stop procrastinating with our study reminders.

Rewards

Earn points, unlock badges and level up while studying.

Magic Marker

Create flashcards in notes completely automatically.

Smart Formatting

Create the most beautiful study materials using our templates.

Just Signed up?

Yes
No, I'll do it now

Sign up to highlight and take notes. It’s 100% free.