Why Are Individuals Aggressive

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Bachelor'sB, October 1996

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Aggression is difficult to define, it is a complex phenomenon, and depending upon the context the term can be made to carry either positive or negative connotations, it can be attacking behaviour that may be either self-protective and self-assertive or to the infliction of injury toward oneself or toward others, to the total destruction of others. Is aggression biological determined or the product of learning and environmental influences.? This essay, will consider instinctive theory, the frustration - aggression hypothesis, and social learning theory. It should then be possible to draw a conclusion to see if any or all of the theories discussed are the cause of aggression. Brain disorders, hormonal and chemical imbalances, environmental factors, such as heat, noise, air pollution and overcrowding, although contribute to the causes of aggression will not be discussed during the course of this essay. No universally adopted definition of aggression exists, for the purpose of this discussion, the definition of Gross will be used.

Gross defines aggression as :-

'The intentional infliction of some form of harm on others' (Gross page 444)

Freud proposed that aggression is an instinctive biological urge. According to Freud this instinct, is made up of the libido (pleasure) and 'Thanatos' (the death wish) (pain). This basic instinct is present in the Id from birth, at first the aggression is relatively uncontrolled, but with the development of the Ego and superego it becomes channelled into socially acceptable behaviour If these impulses are not released periodically in safe ways, they soon reach dangerous levels capable of producing acts of violence. Sometimes it is released in the form of physical or verbal abuse against another, (where the anger is displaced onto another). Sometimes the aggressive impulse is turned inward and produces self - punishment action, even...