Running Head: AGGRESSION
Aggression: Dealing with the Aspects that we are faced with Day in and Day Out
We live in a society where aggressive acts happen every day, but do we really know what causes it? How can we help ourselves and others to understand what aggression is? First off, we need to define aggression, tell it’s causes and effects and determine the best way to deal with it. For example, aggression can be positive or negative, accidental or intended and physical or mental. Aggression is a continuing behavior in our world today and I feel that it is very important that we try to start controlling it now.
Aggression is a critical part of animal existence, which is a driving force to humans, as we too are animals. The source of aggression within humans is an ongoing list so therefore, we must understand the definition of aggression. Aggression in psychology defined by the World Book Encyclopedia is hostile behavior that may hurt or upset other people. Such behavior may take the form of physical attack against people or their possessions, or verbal abuse (Larsen, 2000). There are many types of aggressive behaviors which we must differentiate from. Aggression may be an automatic response to such experiences as pain or danger. In other cases, it is a deliberate action with a definite purpose (Larsen, 2000). Some people act out of hostility to gain money, pleasure, power or prestige. Other aggressive behavior is intended to cause physical or psychological injury (Larsen, 2000). For example, an aggressive behavior can be negative or positive, accidental or intended and physical or mental.
There is no justification for violent aggression such as spouse, child, or sibling abuse, criminal assault, rape, bullying, or any other physical harm or psychological insult to another person. At a time like this, you don’t have to hide your feeling, express yourself. Of course, if your life is in danger, do whatever it takes to help you reach
safety. Aggression can fall under a number of forms. Due to its relative nature, aggression is extremely hard to isolate and study.
A major distinction made in animal studies of aggression, and one that may well have profound implications for human aggression, is the difference between offensive and defensive aggression (Feshbach, Zagrodzka 1997). Much research has already been done indicating that different brain sites mediate predation and defensive aggression. Aggression can take many different paths. The act of hitting a wall to release aggression has some of the same roots as playing football and enjoying hitting the quarterback. A child yelling at their parents could be equated in its aggressiveness with someone honking their horn when they get cut off driving. Psychologist Arlene Stillwell performed an experiment where she assigned ordinary college students at random to play the role of a victim or a perpetrator in a small incident. Then she asked the students to describe the situation that had just happened. What she found was that both victims and perpetrators deformed the truth equally to present their sides in a better light. Victims would dwell on their lasting traumas from the incident while the perpetrator might make the act seem like a one-time action provoked by
insurmountable circumstances. The resulting implication is that aggression is in the eye of the beholder (Baumeister 1997). Some acts are very easy to categorize as aggressive, while others are not.
As we know, aggression can take on many different routes. Here are two opposing views of aggression: (1) aggression in animals and humans is an inherited, spontaneous tendency much the same as the motivation to eat, drink and make love; (2) there is nothing inevitable about the expression of aggression, it depends as much upon experience and external factors as the internal state of the animal (Home Edition 2000). These two differing viewpoints are very important as we start looking into aggression.
To be called assertive is a compliment. To be told that you are aggressive is viewed as a criticism, and to be considered violent is to be condemned (Hirsch 1981). What is the difference between the three? The Webster’s Dictionary defines assertive as “positive; aggressive; and dogmatic.” Aggression is defined as “an unprovoked offensive