Aggression refers to a hostile behavior that may lead to physical or psychological harm, physical distraction, or personal injury (Williams, 2011). However, some behaviors which are not aggression may lead to harm. For instance, an unaggressive doctor may inject a lethal chemical into a patient’s vein to save other people from contracting a similar infection. The following paper discusses the causes of aggression, including instinct, biological factors, frustration, aversive stimuli, media violence, and social learning, as well as prevention and intervention of aggression which include practicing of prosocial behaviors.
Causes of Aggression
Aggression may results from an interaction of a variety of factors, including environmental and biological factors. In the human society, a person can demonstrate aggressive behaviors as a result of an instinct, biology, frustration, aversive stimuli, media violence, and social learning (Shaffer, 2009).
Instinct refers to an inborn behavior that is selectively responsive to various stimuli in the environment. Human beings may be able to control an instinct, but they are not able to eliminate it. Some people possess aggression as an instinct, and they can exhibit it during various stages of development. Human beings can reveal instinctual aggression when they experience hindrances to satisfying desires to survival, shelter, sex, and pleasure. When people’s survival intention is threatened, they can become irrational, cruel, primitive, and insensitive (Williams, 2011).
Aggression can result from the biological constitution of human beings. Such chemicals as serotonin and testosterone, which are present in the brain, have a close association with aggressive behavior (Williams, 2011). When the level of serotonin is extremely low and the level of testosterone is substantial, a person is likely to portray violence in an unhealthy manner. Due to the fact that testosterone is a hormone most closely linked to the development of the male gender, men tend to be more aggressive than their female counterparts.
Frustration is a feeling that a person develops after an experience of failing to attain desired goals. Research has shown that such failure, followed by frustration, can lead to aggression (Williams, 2011). For instance, the loosing football team’s fans are likely to act more violently as compared to the winning football team’s fans. Therefore, an unaggressive person may become aggressive simply because of frustration.
An aversive stimulus refers to a negative stimulus that organisms make appropriate responses to. Aversive stimuli, such as electric shock, intracranial stimulation, heat, and physical blows, can elicit fighting which implies aggressive behavior (Williams, 2011). A person develops aggressive behavior to block the source of an aversive stimulus.
Media negatively affects social development of adolescents and children who spend many hours in front of television playing violent video games and watching movies that involve violence and aggression. According to Williams (2011), media violence can lead to aggressive behavior, nightmares, desensitization to aggression and violence, and fear among adolescents and children.
Social learning refers to a process of imitating behaviors of other individuals in the environment. Children are likely to model aggressive behaviors if they are frequently exposed to violent behaviors. For instance, children may develop aggression when their parents frequently behave in a violent way. Studies show that the majority of male abusers come from homes in which their mothers underwent abuse (Williams, 2011).
Prevention and Intervention of Aggression
It is vital to understand the cause of aggression in order to implement appropriate prevention and intervention measures. The most common strategy is to initiate and encourage practicing of prosocial behavior. It refers to actions that promote desirable social relations among human beings (Shaffer, 2009). Parents and teachers should ensure that their children copy the behaviors of positive role models. They should choose movies and television shows for their children. Parents should also solve family conflicts and avoid fights in front of children.
It has been evident that human beings may become aggressive because of an instinct, biological factors, frustration, aversive stimuli, media violence, and social learning. Practicing of prosocial behavior among children and adults can reduce the number of incidents of violence in a society (Shaffer, 2009).
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