Where does aggression come from?

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If we perceive and label another type of person or their actions as offensive or dangerous to us, then we are more prone to be aggressive towards that type of person. Just like a hungry person thinks more often of food, if we are angry, we see more signs of aggression and suspect more "enemies." It has been said, "a prejudiced person sees a Jew, a communist, or a '******' behind every bush and beneath every bed." Our society and our subcultures provide us with stereotypes that direct our resentment, prejudice, and discrimination towards certain types of people. Prejudice tends to grow: if we dislike someone, we are more likely to hurt them, and if we hurt them, we are more likely to come to dislike them even more (Scherer, Aveles, & Fischer, 1975). For example, prior to the shooting of students (4 killed, 9 wounded) by the National Guard at Kent State in 1970, students across the nation had referred to the police as "pigs" (i.e. stupid, coarse, and brutal) and the police had seen ... more
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The NNCC lists these factors: • The Child. A child s temperament and coping skills are critical to the youngster s ability to manage aggression. There are basically three types of temperament: easy or flexible (60% of children), fearful and sensitive (25%), and feisty or difficult (15% of children). • The Family. The level of family stress and the positive and negative interactions of the family influence children learning aggression. • The Community. Communities that understand and support children s rights are communities that support children and all their developmental stages. • The Environment. Housing, schools and neighborhoods can contribute to aggression. • The Culture. The role models children are exposed to on television and in the community. When people try to solve problems with physical violence, children mistakenly learn that this is acceptable behavior. more
Some believe that aggression is learned through his or her peers and/or family members. Others believe that it is genetics that makes one be aggressive. Pinker (1997) states, In this scientific age, to understand means to try to explain behavior as a complex interaction among: (1) the genes; (2) the anatomy of the brain; (3) its biochemical state; (4) the persons family upbringing; (5) the way society has treated him or her; and (6) the stimuli that impinge upon the person (p.515) So really there is no one-way to understand how one develops aggression, but through positive interaction and treatment one can overcome aggression. more
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