Nature and Causes of Aggression - Environmental

Nature and Causes of Aggression - Environmental

Aggression is an example of an antisocial behaviour. Theories have been proposed to explain this behaviour in terms of innate and learned factors (nature vs. nurture). This section will focus on nurture: the explanations for aggression as a result of social interactions. But don't forget - there are many biological explanations, which provide alternatives to the following social ones.

Aggression is not only triggered by social interactions. Features of the environment, such as temperature, noise and overcrowding, can provoke aggressive behaviours.

Stressor: Evidence: Conclusions:

Naturalistic observations suggest that temperature and aggression are positively correlated.

Lab experiments suggest that an 'inverted-U' relationship (temperature and aggression rise together until a point when aggression drops as temperature continues to rise) is more likely.

Observational studies lack control - maybe something other than temperature is responsible for the behaviour.

Perhaps high temperatures affect our judgements leading to aggressive responses being more likely (Moghaddam, 1998).

Noise Loud noise makes people more aggressive; (1) towards those that have already angered them or (2) if they cannot control the noise. If noise increases arousal, aggression is more likely (Donnerstein & Wilson, 1976).

Crowding does not seem to increase aggression in urban areas, though it does in prisons.

Crowding may increase aggression in male groups but reduce it in female groups.

Perhaps the social interaction during crowding increases the intensity of a persons response to a situation (Freedman, 1975).