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Social Explanations of Aggression
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). Our first few lessons 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 an evaluation to the social ones.
Social learning theory
This states that aggression is learned through r____________ of direct experiences and
i_________ of aggressive models, such as parents, peers or even TV/film characters.
Aggressive behaviours may not be imitated simply because they have been learned vicarious reinforcement is required.Vicarious reinforcement
Support for this comes from studies using large, inflatable "______ dolls":
Bandura (1961) conducted an experiment which involved_________________________________
Children were more likely to behave aggressively towards the doll if they had observed
an adult hitting and throwing the doll.
Bandura and Walters (1965) conducted a further study to research the idea of
vicarious reinforcement. They found that children, who witnessed the model being
punished for aggressive behavior, were much less likely to imitate the behaviour than
children who saw the model get no punishment. This suggested children learned about
the likely consequences of their actions adjusted their behavior accordingly.
IDA and SLT:
Ignores biological factors, such as genetic
and hormonal influences.
Explains influence of TV and film on the behaviour
Bandura's experiments only included
children, which raises ethical considerations
as exposing children to potentially harming
stimuli would now go against ethical
guidelines. Therefore it is hard to research
SLT and thus hard to establish credibility of