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AQA A2 Psychology PSYA3: Relationships, Eating Behaviour, Aggression

Concise summary of all the mentioned units of AQA A A2 Psychology :)

Erin May

on 2 June 2014

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Transcript of AQA A2 Psychology PSYA3: Relationships, Eating Behaviour, Aggression

AQA A2 Psychology PSYA3: Relationships, Eating Behaviour, Aggression
Eating Behaviour
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Sexual Selection
Parental investment
Social Learning Theory
Institutional Aggression
Group Displays Of Aggression
Genetics in Aggression
Neural and Hormonal Mechanisms in Aggression
Evolutionary Explanations of Aggression
Influence of Childhood on Adult relationships
Cultural Differences
Attitudes to Food and Eating Behaviour
Neural Eating Behaviour
Evolutionary eating behaviour
Psychological Anorexia
Biological Anorexia
Success/failure dieting
Biological Bulimia
Psychological Bulimia
Reward/Need Satisfaction
Similarity THeory
Based in the theory of operant conditioning, people will return to a stimulus that is rewarding, and steer clear of a stimulus that is negatively reinforcing. If we find a person rewarding we are more likely to want to spend time with them and so form a relationship with them
People look for those who are similar to them to lessen the chance of rejection, this theory states that we look for similarities in personality and attitudes.
If attitudes differ greatly, a couple may undergo attitude alignment, where certain attitude traits are compromised to become more similar
Griffit and Guay asked participants to complete a creative task, which, upon completion, was evaluated by someone. The participants were then asked to rate the person on how much they liked him, and found that if the person evaluated them more positively, they liked him more.
Furthermore, there was another guy in the room, they also liked HIM more if they had been positively rated.
Attraction through association, associate person you meet with the mood you're in
Found that those with similar personalities had happier marriages
Rosenbaum argued that it isn't similarity you look for in the formation of relationships, but dissimilarity, you then rule these people out to lessen the risk of rejection, this was dubbed the 'dissimilarity repulsion theory'
Equity theory
Social Exchange Theory
Based on the notion that relationships are a series of exchanges. Ergo, relationships are based on the concept of profit and loss, so benefits, must be greater than costs, for the relationship to be worthwhile.
There is also the idea of the comparison level, a set of standards, set by a person based on previous partners.
Explains why women stay in abusive relationships where there are children and finances involved, because although she is experiencing abuse, the children have a father and financial stability, so it's still profitable
Gives a very selfish view of being in a relationship and doesn't discuss the importance of 'giving' and focuses only on receiving.
Doesn't explain eastern cultures: relationships for the benefit of the many
Says that a relationship must be equitable for it to work, if the relationship is inequitable it leads to dissatisfaction.
'Ratio of inputs and outputs' used to explain how an equitable relationship does not necessarily mean equal, in the way that, if someone puts little into a relationship, but then gets little out of the relationship, it is still equitable.
Children were told to observe adults in a room containing a 'bobo doll'. In one condition, the adults were being very aggressive towards the bobo doll, in the other, the adults were being neutral towards the toy. The children were then frustrated and sent into the room with the bobo doll. All children from the aggressive condition then proceeded to mimmick the behaviour they had just seen, the closest imitations seen in same sex pairings, i.e. a young boy copying a grown man's behaviour.
Intrapsychic Processes
Dyadic Processes
Social Processes
Grave Dressing Processes
Ressurection Processes
Dissatisfaction with relationship
Ruminate over relationship faults by self: social withdrawal
Tell partner of issues
Tell friends, they take sides, build social support
Sorting of memories and justifying of decision
New ideals from old relationship
Students going through relationship breakdown surveyed, self report showed them go through a dissatisfaction phase, and described the main processes, they then reported going through a period of reminiscence and eventually a new standard was set from the old relationship
Ethical issues: Studying people when they are in a traumatic period of life unethical.
Said that people become deinviduated within large groups, so have a lower self evaluation, reduced fear of negative evaluation from others, and increased anonymity, which causes them to feel that they can act outside of their personal and social norms, to become more aggressive.
Study on female undergrads, one condition they were deindividuated, big hooded masks, kept in individual cublicles, no names. In another condition they had normal clothes, big name tags, introduced to each other by name, all in one room together. Both conditions were told they have to shock a learner in order to aid learning. Hooded shocked twice as much as identifiable
Zimbardo said it was the anonymity that caused this
The study was repeated, but this time, one condition were dressed in an outfit akin to the Ku Klux Klan, one were dressed as nurses, and one were normal controls.
Those in the Ku Klux Klan outfit shocked more than the controls but those in the nurses outfit shocked less.
It was then suggested that rather than the anonymity, it is the context of the situation people find themselves in, and therefore their level of self evaluation.
Importation model: A prisoner is not a clean slate when they enter prison, they have their own social and personal ethics and norms, and this affects their behaviour in prison.
American study looked at prisoners with and without gang member history, and found that those who were previously in gangs before prison were 10x more likely to be aggressive in prison compared to non-gang counterparts
Another study did not replicate these findings, suggesting no relationship between previous gang membership and violence
This however may have been found because pre-gang members were kept seperate from all other inmates.
Pains of imprisonment: thought violence could be incited within prison because of frustration in prisoners. Lack of autonomy, liberty and security can cause a violent prisoner.
Long term
Short Term
Parental Modelling
Media influences
Social Class
Comfort Eating
Binge eating
Parents biggest control in a childs food intake
+ve corr: parent + child snack food intake, eating motivations, and body dissatisfaction
Biggest indicator of daughter's eating habits were her mothers own, and her mothers perception of how easily the daughter may get fat.
Media influences what people eat and attitudes to foods
Although media influence it, many diets are limited to personal circumstances, so media does not have sole influence and other factors are at play
Social learning
Those in higher classes reported higher levels of body dissatisfaction than their lower class counterparts
7000 american adolescents, higher classes had greater desire to be thin and were more likely to diet to achieve it
Income +ve corr with healthy eating
Higher levels of body dissatisfaction in white girls rather than black or asian.
'Acculturation effect'
14,000 women from outside Australia immigrated in, longer in australia, more attitudes reflect those born in Oz
Found higher strive for thinness more prolific in black girls.
Filthy Gender Bias
More bulimia in Asian schoolgirls.
lack girls
*malfoy is saying it, as, were he a muggle, he would be the world's biggest racist, and would be excellent at pointing out ethnic differences.
*girls from a higher class are always really sexy.
Cultural diffs
Binges occur when a person loses control of their eating, resulting excessive over eating.
A self report experiment conducted on students found that a binge was characterised by a very low mood immediately before, so it is thought that binge eating is used as a coping mechanism.
However it was also found that mood was not alleviated post binge, so it is unclear why binging occurs, and it can be inferred that low mood is not the cause.
Age bias
Lateral Hypothalamus
When blood glucose declines, ghrelin is released, which the Lateral Hypothalamus detects, it is because of this reaction that it is believed the lateral hypothalamus is the hunger centre
When rats had their LH's damaged, they experienced aphagia, and so did not eat.
When rats had their LH stimulated with NP-Y they immediately started feeding.
Thought that is Neuropeptide-Y within the brain that stimulates the hunger specifcally
Ventromedial Hypothalamus
Thought to be the satiety centre, as when it was damaged, rats go into hyperphagia.

Contains many glucose receptors, which become inactive upon damage.

One researcher suggested it was not the VMH alone, but a section within the VMH, the Paraventricular Nucleas, which is the controller of satiety.
Thought that comfort eating is used to combat low mood.
Garg et al put participants in two conditions, in one, they watched a happy movie, and the other, a sad one. Both conditions were offered either buttery popcorn or grapes as a snack, and those in the sad movie had 35% more popcorn than those in the happy movie, who ate more grapes, this suggests a link between low mood and poor eating choices.
However, there are clearly other factors at play here, as if it was solely low mood, all those in the sad condition would have picked buttery popcorn, and visa versa, it can therefore be assumed that low mood has a role in eating behaviour, it is not the sole decider.
Gold said it was purely the PVN, as lesions on areas of the VMH other than the pvn had no effect

However, no one else has been able to replicate the results, with some researchers finding that lesions on areas of the VMH excluding the PVN caused far more overeating and obesity.
However, this seems to be an artificially created state, as normal levels of NP-Y in the brain of rats appear to have little-no effect on eating behaviour.
In humans, it was found that in some overweight people, the body produced NP-Y in excess, causing them to overeat and feel hungry when sated. Furthermore, it was found that NP-Y was made in abdominal fat, so a cycle of eating begins.
Neural Stuff
Inferior frontal cortex
Controls food choice and causes people to go for familiar foods.
Mice offered familiar and unfamiliar food: those with their amygdalas intact only ate the familiar foods, while those with their amygdalas remoed ate familiar and unfamiliar indiscriminantly.
Restraint Theory
Suggests that because dieters attempt to restrict their eating, they increase the probability of overeating
Boundary Model
Normal Eater
Restrained Eater
Restricting causes hunger to occur easier, and satiety is harder to achieve because of the restriction occuring, this therefore increases the probability that the dieter will lose control and overeat
Two conditions of dieters: one based on restriction and one on exercise, they were brought back for evaluation after 6 weeks, they were presented with a table full of food. Those in the restriction group ate more food than the exercise group, and consumed it regardless of its palatabilty.
Ironic Thought Suppression
Theory that the more you try to suppress a thought, the more frequently the thought will occur.
2 conditions:
Told to think of a white bear
Told not to think of a white bear
Then told to ring a bell everytime they thought of a white bear
Those told not to think of a white bear thought more of a white bear.
This principle can be applied to dieters, they try to suppress the thought of eating things such as pizza or chocolate and it makes them want it more.
Said that the key to a successful diet is detail, so that if a person thinks of all the details of a salad, rather than just 'bleugh salad' they won't get bored of their diet.
Focusses on bordem being the cause of failure of dieting
Jellybean Experiment
Participants presented with a series of jellybeans, in one condition the jellybeans were described as 'jellybean 1' etc. In a second condition they were described as 'cherry jellybean' etc. Those in the second condition got bored less quickly
Sexual Repression Theory
Adapted to Flee
Men have evolved a strategy for short term mating success, they lower their standards, have le sex, then find women less attractive, a mechanism which allows them to leave. This allows them to impregnate as many women as possible in a given time period.
One study of college students used a 'surveyer' to approach undergraduates and essentially chat them up, at first they introduced themselves, then said that they found them attractive, then asked them one of 3 questions: Would you go on a date with me? Would you come back to my apartment? Or 'Will you have sex with me?'. Of women, 50% agreed to a date, 6% to go back to the apartment, and 0% to sex, of men 50% agreed to a date, 69% to go back to the apartment and 75% to have sex with them.
Women are more selective over their short term partners because in the same time period that men could impregnate 272 women, the woman could only have one baby.
At fertility points in the menstrual cycle women pick men with a more masculine face. These males probs have loads of testosterone, which negatively affects the immune system, so if they're healthy they have an excellent immune system

Have lots of resources
Can protect her and her offspring
Be compatible enough to ensure minimal relationship costs
Have potential to be a good parent.
Men look for women whom:
Show signs of fertility
Universal Mating Preference test (Buss):
10,000 people from 37 different cultures:
Women wanted men who had plentiful financial resources.
Men were more focussed on attractiveness.
Men wanted males younger than them (easier to control)
Both wanted intelligent mates (so they would be good parents, and smart babies.
Both sexes wanted dependable partners (so would help them hard times)
Kenrick et al found that young males typically want mates at least 5 years older than them- contradiction of Buss. This makes sense as 5 years older than a teenage boy would be in early 20's- optimum baby making age.
Males find women more attractive in oestrus, where they are more sexually receptive, more likely to mate with them and have le bebe

A study of lap dancers foud that, on average, those in oestrus earned twice as much in tips as those not in oestrus
Men compete for woman
Men compete for resources to woo women.
Freedom of mate choice
Romantic Loneliness
In western cultures, people interact with new people all the time, as we live in an urban setting that allows high social and geographical mobility, so have a big choice of mate.

Eastern culture has less of these and so interact with the same people everyday, therefore who they pick as a partner has more ties to money and prosperity, as there is less to choose from
A study looked at the marital satisfaction of free choice and arranged marriage and found no difference in marital satisfaction
A study of chinese women found higher levels of satisfaction on free choice marriages compared to arranged marriages
One meta analysis found that arranged marriages worked well; low diorce rates, 50% reported being in romantic love
Issues up in here
both studies that support the idea that all relationships are the same, measure their similarity on very ambiguous terms, both '
' and '
' can mean different things in different cultures, just because a person is satisfied, does not mean that the relationships have the same dynamic.
Whats the Crack?
Got any proof for that, mate?
The study that said romantic and arranged marriages to be different done in only one culture, so can't be generalised to western cultures
Individualist or Collectivist Relationships
Importance of love?
Two researchers defined loneliness as the gap between desired and achieved social interaction. It is thought that those in western cultures experience a greater deal of romantic loneliness, as a great emphasis is put on the romantic relationship.
Seepersad conducted a study on 227 Korean and US undergrad students, the repeated measures style test showed any discrepancies over time, participants were asked if they had a romantic partner both times, asked to fill out a 1-7 agree-disagree scale which contained questions such as 'I have a need for romantic intimacy', and their perceived closeness in any romantic relationships they have previously had.
They found significantly higher degree of romantic loneliness in the US students, with significantly more reporting to be in a stable relationship in T1, but far less than the koreans in T2, suggesting romantic instability. Furthermore, the US students said they felt a greater degree of intimacy with their partner than the koreans; Seepersad suggested this is because the westernised culture puts a greater emphasis on romantic intimacy, so the students feel it more
Gender Bias:
87% US and 95% Korean students female; gender differences between relationship perception, cannot be generalised
Age Bias:
Participants aged between 18 and 25, so results cannot be generalised to all ages to explain role of romantic loneliness
Sample Bias
More US students than korean students, less reliable korean results as sample is smaller.
In western cultures, a relationship is deemed successful if the individuals within the relationships themselves are happy.
In non western cultures, this is often disregarded, the focus placed on the benefits to the many from the relationship
Parents may be in a better position to choose child's partner as they are not blinded by love
Study conducted on western relationships found that mate choice through love promoted more marriage stability
China one from B4
Questions from that study might have been leading, as asked about marriage stability rather than leaving the question more open
Because non-western relationships are based on economics, it can be presumed that those from non-western societies would be more willing to marry without love than those from western societies.
Study conducted to investigate that: only 14% US participants said they would marry without love, 24% of Indian said they would marry without love, and 34% Thai. This suggests that, in non western countries, family benefit is of higher priority than the presence of love, which is a luxury.
Can be used to explain the phenomena of 'crowd baiting'. This occurs when a crowd gathers around a person about to perform a suicide leap. The crowd goads the jumper, with savage words and actions. A study conducted on crowd baiting found people became more verbally aggressive the larger the group and the darker the setting, this leads favour to zimbardo's proposition that anonymity aggravates crowd baiting the most, as anonymity is increased in large groups and the dark
Bandura described social learning theory as a way that children learned aggression, at the time, many people did not see the link between adult modelling and aggression, so his theory was breakthrough.
He said a child learns through a process of operant conditioning, they observe a person being rewarded for an aggressive behaviour, or see someone achieve what they want through aggressive behaviour and they then mimic the aggressive behaviour to achieve the same results
Brain scan on a child watching a person being rewarded for aggressive behaviour found that their own reward paths in their brain as if they themselves were receiving the reward, so the link is made between violence and reward
A child must have the necessary mental representation to perform the behaviour, so know that the outcome of using violence is positive, because they have observed older adults achieving things with it
A child may learn through direct experience: by using violence and, if they achieve what they want with the violence, they will use the violence again.
The child must hae faith in their ability to be violent, if they do not, they are more likely to try other avenues of problem solving, they gain faith in their ability by copying what the adults do and achieving results
Unethical to study kids like this: May teach them things that affect their behaviour permanently, unfair to frustrate them, would have to gian fully informed consent from the parent.
Lacks mundane realism and ecological validity as is is done in a lab, not a home or schoolyeard, and people fight a doll, not a very likely occurance in a child's day to day life.
Men and women react differently under deindividuated conditions
One study of lynchings found that the bigger the mob around the lynching, the more savage they were about the killing, becoming 'faceless' in the crowd.
Found disinhibition and antisocial behaviours did not increase in large groups
Idea of private self awareness: if you're by yourself you focus on yourself and what you're doing etc, but if you're in a large group, you are submerged in the group, so think less of your actions and morals and become less privately self aware, so act more aggressively as their own behaviour isn't moderated
Pre-prison gang membership: Prisoners that were previously in gangs import their gang behaviour of violence and aggression into prison.
A study of prisoners found that feeling of reduced security causes high anxiety in prisoners: this can then result in violence.
Deprivation model: Prisoners frustrated because of oppressive nature of prison, causes them to lash out
Study found that trainee nurses were the most likely to get attacked, with level of experience reducing the likelihood of being attacked. This can be extended to prisons in that the longer the time of service, the less likely you are to be attacked by a prisoner.
Pregnancy and Birth Stuff
Season of Birth
Anorexics have greater
in serotonin levels.
Study of restrictive and binge/purge type anorexics and healthy controls saw biggest fluctuations in serotonin levels in binge/purge, and most fluctuations in those with the highest levels of anxiety, which may trigger the AN.
SSRI's don't work, they would if serotonin was the only thing causing the AN
SSRI's prevent relapse though.
In Ye Olde Times, a woman may take measures to stop herself becoming sexually receptive in times of trouble, so as not to become pregnant in unfavourable situations. It is thought that Anorexia is a disordered version of this adaptive response, which may occur when a person is experiencing great stress
This idea is backed up by the fact that a clinical characteristic of anorexia is amenorrhoea, which means that a girl cannot get pregnant.
However there is a gender bias in this theory, and goes no way to explain why men get anorexia, as amenorrhoea is exclusively a female symptom, and men cannot delay their sexual maturation. So this theory cannot be generalised
Anorexics also report a kind of hyperactivity and inability to feel hunger.. It is thought at this an adaptive migratory response, the hyperactivity is triggered by the starvation, and is supposed to give energy to move to an area of more food affluence. Normally starvation increases the desire for food and feelings of discomfort. In ancestors however, during times of extreme starvation, hunger is supressed to stop the sufferer feeling weak in the search of food. It is thought that extreme starvation triggers these ancestral mechanisms.
This idea is supported by the fact that many animals migrate over long distances without eating.
Found an association between premature birth and the development of AN
Problems are incurred when women in the throws of anorexia have children, they give children a 'double disadvantage'. Starve children of nutrition and give them a genetic predisposition.
Complications during birth can cause hypoxia, starving the brain of oxygen, this can cause brain damage which can disrupt eating mechanisms or starve the brain of nutrition, which can predispose the child to anorexia later on in life.
Babies born in the summer/ spring were conceived in the winter. A particular type of intrauterine flu has been associated with the onset of AN.
The more older siblings a child has while in the womb, the more susceptible the mother is to developing infections, and therefore the child being damaged.
No seasonal difference was found in anorexia cases in equatorial regions, however there has been consistent evidence that UK anorexics have been born in the spring months. Critical neurodevelopment stage is the second trimester, mother will have been most exposed to infection at this time, could have affected child.
Brain scans of anorexics and controls found sigificantly higher activity of dopamine in the basal ganglia, where dopamine is used to interpret pain and pleasure, it is thought that this is why anorexics don't find pleasure in eating.
Increased dopamine levels cause weird things in the brains of anorexics
Anorexic girls have higher levels of homovillic acid, which is a by product of dopamine, suggesting significantly increased levels of dopamine in the brain.
Media Effects
Cultural Ideals
Social Class
Peer Influences
Personality Factors
Westernised cultures have a very specific body ideal that influence young girls, thin, small waist etc, this may cause girls to diet to the extreme to achieve the most desirable body. Non-westernised cultures have a much more ambiguous bodily ideal, with less emphasis put on shape and size, because of these differences, it is thought that levels of anorexia should be lower in non western cultures
One study conducted in Curacao investigated the requency of anorexia in comparison to westernised society, 8 cases were found which is proportional to western countries.
However, only one country (inferably small) was surveyed, meaning that the sample is small, and just because this country is proportional, does not mean they all are, the research could be improved by looking at anorexia occurance in multiple non-western countries
Thought that anorexia is more prevalent in white girls, than black or asian girls, with higher levels of body dissatisfaction also reported. This is thought to be a result of black and hispanic people favouring a more curavious figure, whilst white people favour the thinner frame, as a result, more anorexia occurs in white girls as they try to acheive this ideal.
One study found higher levels of body dissatisfaction among black women as opposed to white or hispanic
Thought that being of a higher social class has a causational influence on the onset of anorexia. One researcher found that higher classes expressed greater body dissatisfaction, and a greater willingness to use extreme dieting methods to achieve what they want
One study found the exact opposite, with lower classes claiming more body dissatisfaction, and desire to diet. Suggesting that class has no effect on eating.
One study found that income was positively correlated with healthy eating. It can be inferred from these results that those in higher classes are more health and body conscious, and so are more likely to take these attitudes to the extreme.
Kids bullied for body size, may cause them to diet to try and fit in, or use it as a kind of emotion foussed coping, instead of dealing with their problems
One researcher looked at the patterns in bullying, in terms of weight based bullying, overweight girls and underweight boys are targeted, as they do not fit the 'norm'
Thought that a distorted relationship with food is caused by ineffective parenting, in infancy, when the child could only cry, the mother may comfort the child when they are hungry, or feed them when they require comfort. It is suggested that these mixed messages cause high dependence children that can't recognise their body's signals and needs, and so develop a distorted relationship with food.
Trend in Anorexics that they are very impulsive- the impulsivity can be used to explain their behaviours such as sudden and extreme over exercising.
Observation disguised as a self report study- anorexia sufferers asked to complete a questionnaire on impulsiveness, although they reported low impulsiveness, they answered hastily and inaccurately, suggesting impulsiveness
High levels of perfectionism seen in all anorexics

Retrospective study of perfectionism in boys and girls with anorexia.
75% girls showed perfectionism
50% boys showed perfectionism.
Westernised media focuses heavily on dieting and body shape and judging the body shape of anyone and everyone, it is thought this is what causes body dissatisfaction, and ultimately the destructive anorexic behaviour.
Research was conducted on female citizens of Fiji as westernised tv was introduced. Post to the tv being introduced, women reported higher levels of body dissatisfaction and a greater desire to lose weight than before
!!gender bias!!
meta analysis 98 countries: black and hispanic people reportedly less body dissatisfaction than white women.
non western culturesb favour curvacious figure as it signals fertility, nurturance and attractiveness.
difference between levels of Anorexia in black and white women.
There still may have been a difference- just not a big one
this study is good as it looks at both genders and highlights a difference between them in the onset of anorexia, because of this it can be inferred that anorexia has different causes in boys than girls, as only 50% exhibited perfectionism
Perfectionism however is not a sufficient stand alone cause. if it was, both genders would all be perfectionist, because of this there is clearly some other factors at play.
Explains why anorexics find it so easy to remove foods they like from their diet- as they cannot properly interpret the pleasure
Lesley and Leonard attempt to align attitudes and fail- relationship does not occur
One study of undergraduates found that men think an extra marital affair is justified if there is a lack of variation in the relationship (so lack of stimulation) and women said an affair was justified if there was a feeling of being emotionally undervalued, so lack of communication
Survey of a lot of couples looked at marital satisfaction. Highest satisfaction was felt in the most equitable couples, next highest satisfaction in over-benefitted, lowest in under benefitted women
Another study of Equity in couples found that levels of equity had no bearing in relationship satisfaction except when a woman felt under benefitted
The 'institution' may be defined as a specific group of people, different because of religion or ethnicity etc.
Staub: 5 stages of genocide
1. Difficult social conditions
2.Scapegoeating of less powerful group
3. Negative evaluation and dehumanisation of target group
4. Moral values and rules become inapplicable and killing kicks off
5. Passivity of bystanders allows for killing to continue and escalate.
Enables genocide by removing the innate morals that humans have not to kill fellow humans. Dehumnisation makes the target group appear like a lower species, inhuman, making it easier to kill them
In the killings in Rwanda, the hate radio station encouraged Hutu to murder tutsi, referring to them as 'cockroaches'
Obedience to Authority
Milgram proposed that obedience to authority was what caused the nazi holocaust because he could make people shock dangerous electric shocks just because he was an authoritarian figure
Not sufficient claim, argument is monocausal.
Probs wasn't the authority it was probably the deep antisemitism already ingrained in the german people that they just let it happen
Pains of inprisonment
Importation model
Situational Factors
Gang Membership
Dehumanisation can explain why some people are violent towards asylum seekers/refugees. Those with a high social dominance oriented personality favour a hierarchiel society, with inequality between social groups. They will therefore dehumanise outgroups, so refugees and asylum seekers as they see them as 'trying to cheat the system' and have a lack of sympathy for them, they make up myths about them (i.e. they're all lazy) and say they deserve the aggression and hostility because they are lesser than others
Low serotonin causes impulsiveness and aggressive behaviour
35 healthy male subjects a some dexfenfluramine- this depletes serotonin, used questionnaire to assess hostility and aggression and after treatment found significantly increased aggression
look at dat gender bias goddamnit
Vervet monkeys fed on diet either high or low in tryptophan (which as we all know makes serotonin), the ones on the high serotonin diet shows way decreased levels of aggression, and those on low tryptophan diet had extremely increased levels of aggression
Animals selectively bred for domestication over generations show steadily increasing levels of brain serotonin
Increased dopamine causes aggression, decreased levels cause chilledness.
Using amphetamines increases dopamine, and then aggression increases, however it's not a causational link, and could be down to another factor
Drugs that lower dopamine levels lower aggression
Increased dopamine a cause rather than consequence- mice reward pathway lit up in when they were aggressive, thought that increased dopamine occurs as a result of reward pathway being made, and people are aggressive because of reward from it.
Testosterone has a role to play in aggression areas of the brain
Salivary testosterone of violent and non violent criminals measured, those with the highest salivary testosterone had a history of primarily violent crimes, whereas those with low levels of testosterone had committed mostly non-violent crimes
Testosterone of those who get violent when they're drunk found that they have more testosterone
Testosterone surges should occur in monagamous species in response to a social challenge i.e. over a lady
Just done on prisoners, so cannot be generalised to normal peoples
Albert et al claimed that a lot of studies found no correlation between testosterone and aggression.
Aggression often confused with dominance- raised testosterone are more likely to cause dominance behaviours than aggression, though they are more subtle
Cortisol has a mediating effect on testosterone- thought that it's because it raises anxiety and likelihood of social withdrawal
Low levels of cortisol in habitually violent criminals
Low levels found in violent schoolkids too
Boys surveyed from young age: those with low cortisol levels were antisocial earlier and exhibited 3x more the aggressive symptoms than those with higher or fluctuating levels.
Aggression Inherited?
Gene for Aggression?
Twin Studies
Adoption studies
Wilson proposed that xenophobia is an adaptive response of ancestors to reduce the threat of attack by over exaggerating the negative stereotypes and myths of an outside group. In the past those that did this would have lessened their risk of attack and therefore will have had more children
One researcher found that if a small group of core extremists elicited xenophobic behaviour, that elicited violent behaviour in the spectators and in particular xenophobia. This has been observed in multiple stadia- with Jews, Russians and Gypsies
Football: Paolo Di Canio provoked extremists in the crowd by performing a 'roman salute' this represented mussolini, and therefore the opposition to their extremism.
Evolved as a result of ancestors attempting to protect their territory and possessions- those who were more violent to outsiders maintained their territory, had children, those who lost their territories lost females and therefore cannot breed.
Seen in the rugby world cup 1991, the siva tau war chant was adopted by the samoa on their home ground, the group display is used to intimidate the 'invading' team, and make them perform less well.
Threat displays
Thought that surge in testosterone occurs when defending ones territory in order to behave more aggressively
One study found that football players tend to do well when playing at home, as they experience a surge of testosterone which causes them to play more violently.
It is thought that this was a result of an innate obligation to defend one's territory.
Furthermore, the surge in testosterone found before a home match (compared to training) was not found before and away match
Thought that rather than testosterone or an instinct, at home matches, it is the increased crowd support that causes the more aggressive display, even occurs in very small crowds either because
They psych up the players
Distract the opposition.
Either way it presents a serious challenge to the principle of group displays and territoriality
Questionable home advantage: as a result of a measles epidemic, many basketball games were played without spectators, New York and Conneticut teams played: with spectators New York scored on average 76.25, without 86.20. Conneticut scored an average 64.29 with spectators, and 71.25 without spectators
Testosterone and territoriality
Real World Application: German sports team in 1992 wear shirts emblazoned with 'My friend is a foreigner'. British Government creates 'Show racism the red card' and Sheffield united adopt the slogan 'football unites, racism divides
Benefits of aggressive displays
Sexual selection
Aquisition of Status
Infanticide: The act of a mother killing her child before the age of 1.
Men far less susceptible to this phenomena as they were useful in battle
Because there are so few women in these societies, men must compete for women using their battle prowess, the more battle prowess they have, the more easily they are rewarded with women: aggressive display gets you babies.
Divale and Harris
Displays of aggressive and brave behaviour are attractive to women, men who are warriors have more women and babies, direct reproductive benefit
Military men sexier if their combat observed
Male street gang members have more sexual partners than non gang member counter parts
Displays of aggression earns respect from other male warriors, so status is maintained, interaction of men important in these societies so respect would mean shared benefits i.e. women
War did not occur until we settled and got tied to farm lands and fishing areas, now we couldn't just flee from trouble we had to fight to keep our resources as they were ours and there is a lot more to lose. War is a rational rather than evolutionary response
Group displays a result of deindividuation, as these theories to not explain atrocities such as abu graib- those acts committed would not make the people seem more attractive to the westnised society from which they came, they had nothing to protect as it wasn't their country.
Signal Commitment
Shows honest commitment to the battle just won, and so will reap more of the benefits, men may become more aggressive in order to achieve these and gain the rewards
Battle Wear
Need to stop people fleeing and ensure the strength of the clan, so piercings or scars stop people defecting to the opposition team in order to survive- this is likely as all people have an innate response to protect themselves.
Mother invests
far more than father: they
invest 9 months in pregnancy, and
the strain on their body during that
time, then years of breastfeeding, then normal feeding, carrying.
Human babies are born immature relative to other animals, so mothers have a much longer caring time than other animals.
Maximum reproductive success of women significantly reduced as a result of this
fact, so mothers invest more to
ensure that the few children they
can have are the best
they can be
Mothers invest more!
Basic Jist is: Mother invests tons more than father, father mates randomly to impregnate more women, mother mates selectively. You want to argue how there is a difference i.e. How mothers DO invest or, and how there is no difference i.e. mothers and fathers invest equally.
Found maternal Grandparents invested the most outside of the parents, and paternal grandparents invested the least- maternal line invests more than paternal line.
Because women invest more, it makes sense for them to have extra marital affairs to ensure the best genes for the child, so that she has the best of both worlds. a survey of 2700 magazine readers found that as much as 14% of the population could be the result of an extramarital affair.
There are of course some serious
risks and benefits, one researcher highlights that although the woman may achieve the best of both worlds from her cuckoldry, she may also end up being abandoned.
If women invested the same as men they would not run this huge risk, so they must invest more.
Looking at the closest
non-human species, chimpanzees and pygmy chimpanzees, found no paternal investment whatsoever, so what paternal investment is involved, is a cultural learning thing,
and innately, mothers
invest more
Father makes
minimum investment:
Time for sex and some
sperm. If they do invest, they want to safeguard themselves against cuckoldry, so they don't invest in a child that isn't theirs. Men also mate indiscriminantly.
Significance of
the child not being biologically theirs.
Males do
invest as much as women
shy students
Males restrict their reproductive opportunity in order to focus their resources on each individual child,
investing their resources on only a few children means the children have a
better quality of life, and so infant
mortality is reduced, and the father contributes as much to the child's
survial as the mother does.
Suggested that difference investments by fathers between biological and step children does
not exist. The parental investment theory suggests that a male will
not invest in a child that is not
his, this study suggests
Both males and females given a questionnaire on parental preparation with questions such as 'I feel I am very prepared to be a parent' they were then shown scenarios which emphasized the costs of parenthood, men showed much more AMS arousal, with significantly increased heard rate. This suggests that males were much less biologically prepared to deal with the issues in parenting than women
Ignores all other factors that
influence the father's investment on the child, such as societal influences, personality traits of the father and child, and the quality of the relationship with the mother
Childhood experiences i.e. divorce, correlates with how much men invest in the caring of their own children.
Parental investment theory says that
men are more concerned about sexual infidelity
(by extension, the risk of cuckoldry) and women
are more concerned about emotional affairs (by
extension, the shift in focus
of resources on other women, and their children)
Buss found that male US students indicated more
concern about sexual infidelity, and female more
about emotional, this was further supported by
physiological responses, where men
responded with more distress at scenes
of sexual infidelity than
that of emotional.
Cooper et al- Development and Maintenance Model
1. A trauma is experienced early in childhood.
2. They don't feel like their adequately understood.
3. Become sad.
4. Are exposed to destructive comments about dieting and weight.
5. Start to Diet
6. Binge/Purge to lose weight
Too simplistic: Doesn't explain how or why the transition from dieting to the destructive binge/purge behaviour occurs
Ignores the role of genetic or biological factors that may have a role in the onset of the bulimia
1. Low mood so binge
Thought that low levels of serotonin also triggers the binge
2.Positive feedback of serotonin causes high anxiety, and intrusive thoughts such as 'I will get fat' occur.
3. Purge, serotonin levels become lower again.
4. Binge because of low mood and low serotonin
Too simplistic: Doesn't explain how or why the transition from dieting to the destructive binge/purge behaviour occurs
Ignores the role of genetic or biological factors that may have a role in the onset of the bulimia
Polivy- the functional model
Said that bulimics overeat to compensate for identity issues. They overeat so that they can blame their identity issues on the weight gain, rather than dealing with the actual problem
Too simplistic: only explains why anorexics binge, however, it does not continue to explain why it turns into purging.
Ignores any biological factors that play a role in the onset of bulimia
Sexual Inadequacy
Get bulimia because they fear they are inadequate in bed, so fear rejection, so get bulimia as they feel being skinny will lessen the likelihood of rejection.
Bulimia sufferers and healthy controls surveyed on things that they feared rejection from most in the relationship, and failure to peform in bed was rated highest in both groups.
Said that men have evolved an innate aversion to even the slightest thickening of the waist, as it is a sign a woman is pregnant, and therefore a risk of cuckoldry is present. Thought that bulimics develop bulimia to achieve this nubile ideal.
Thought that this disordered pattern of trying to stay nubile occurs euse older women are looking increasingly more nubile, because older women also have more resources, younger women must compete with this to gain a man, and so endeavour to be as thin as possible
This theory doesn't explain- if the main goal is to lose weight quick, why sufferers descend into bulimia, and not anorexia, as a characteristic of bulimia is that the sufferers often maintain their weight for an extended period of time, and don't start to lose weight until their disorder becomes more extreme.
Gender bias: doesn't account for bulimia in males, as they can't get pregnant, there is no need for them to make themselves look thinner so they don't look pregnant
Heterosexual Bias: Doesn't account for gay men or lesbian women, as neither can get pregnant in their relationships, they have no need to get thin. Thought as many as 25% of male sufferers are gay
High serotonin thought to cause anxiety, which is what is thought to cause the binge purge cycle in bulimics. Serotonin also has a role in controlling eating behaviour, appetite and satiety.
Researcher got recovered bulimics and healthy controls and gave them a diet lacking in tryptophan- a precursor to serotonin. Measured after a period of time, the bulimics reported higher body dissatisfaction, and a higher fear of losing control over their eating
SSRI's don't work though- which is odd :/
Study highly unethical, to make recovered bulimics re-experience their feelings may cause them to relapse and have a detrimental effect on their physical and mental health.
Because fertilisation is hidden, men are always at a risk of cuckoldry, so as to not raise a child that is not his, he attempts to protect himself against infidelity
Buss said that men have multiple mechanisms that they employ to stop his woman cuckolding him: Restricting the partner's autonomy, on 'negative inducements' through actual violence or threatening violence.
Found battered women often cited extreme jealousy in their husbands an boyfriends
Male sexual
jealousy the biggest cause of killings from domestic disputes, 17% of all cases of murder. Men more often the
Male sexual
jealousy the biggest cause of killings from domestic disputes, 17% of all cases of murder. Men more often the

When using brain imaging technology, men show more arousal in the amygdala and hypothalamus: areas of the brain most associated
with aggression
Physiological Support
Shackleton et al
Gave men a survey that analysed their use of
the 24 forms of violent mate retention, women received a survey of the female-directied violence they had experienced
Men's use of negative inducements and direct guarding was positively correlated with their violence score.
Emotional blackmail consistently predicted men's violence
Women's reports showed negative inducements n direct guarding positively correlated with the female directed violence
Women reported that men who used emotional manipulation, and vigilance were most likely to be violent
Practical Application
Can be used to predict possible future violence, which can allow for family and friends to be alerted.
Doesn't tell the full story
Research doesn't show whether the perceived locus of responsibility is the moderator of the jealous response.
Infidelity is defined as when a married person commits a consensual act of adultery with a person whom is not their spouse
If a man thinks his woman is cheating, he will rape her.
Camilleri found that sexual assault on a female was directly linked with the perceived risk of infidelity
Women who had been victims of partner rape were more likely to report having had an extra marital affair than women who had not been raped
Violence towards pregnant partners
If a woman becomes pregnant as a result of her infidelity, her current partner risks investing in a child that isn't his, and so directs his violence towards the woman in an attempt to terminate the pregnancy, so that she can bare offspring for him.
If men can't use resouces as a benefit to make his woman stay, he is evolutionarily prone to using violence and wife death is can be an unwanted result of this.
It has been found that violence towards pregnant mates was roughly double that towards non-pregnant partners
Women abused while pregnant were more likely to be carrying a child that is not her current partner's
Half a sample of women physically abused while pregnant received blows direct to their abdomen
Found that risk of partner's infidelity was directly linked to rape in males but not females.
Men convicted of rape of partner more likely to have been cuckolded
Doesn't explain why people react differently to the same adaptive problem.
50% variance in direct aggressive behaviour can be attributed to genetic factors.
Study of 14,000 adoptions in Denmark found a significant amount of adopted boys with criminal convictions, who also had parents (particularly fathers) with criminal convictions.
Monoamine Oxidase A is an amino acid that regulates serotonin, a study of a Dutch family found a number of its members were involved in extreme violent crimes, including rape and arson, were low in MAOA, suggesting a defect in the primary gene that codes for it
One study assessing the efficacy of MAOA variants on violence involved 500 male children, the researchers identified a variant which caused high levels of MAOA and a variant which caused low levels of MAOA, those with the low level variant were more likely to be anti social but only if they had been maltreated- suggesting that although MAOA (and by extension, genetics) has an influence, it is not the only influence.
A meta analysis of twin and adoption studies found genetics can account for 50% of the variance in aggression. Age being important, as a person grows older, environment has less of an input and genes have more.
A lot of studies such as the ones used in the meta analysis above^ relied on self report methods, from either the person themselves or the parents. It has been found that those that use observation rather than self report find significantly less genetic contribution, and greater influence of environment.
There are difficulties determining genetic factors, because:
More than one gene contributes to a characteristic
Environmental factors are involved
These influences interact with each other varying amounts between individuals to elicit different behaviours.
Moderate to weak correlation between aggression and heredity.
Gender bias in studies
used in study of MAOA
Using animal research
Researchers claim to
have found a gene
nicknamed 'fierce', that
elicits a range of violent
behaviour through selective breeding programmes,
they claim the gene causes extremely violent
behaviour towards other
mice. The counterpart
gene is also present in
In predisposed criminals
The results of biological
causes of aggression can be
used to treat those with a
genetic predisposition,
through direct 'chemical
castration' or genetic
engineering, there are
many ethical issues
surrounding this
issue, and a aware-
ness of the

limitations of the research is
Parent- Child relationships
Gain 3 systems from parents:-
attachment system
is thought to be a continuation of the type of attachment you had with your primary caregiver. Poor attachment then, attachment disorder, find it hard to interact with others, no real interpersonal relationships.
Attachment, caregiving and Sexuality
Caregiving System
the ability to care for others, based on modelling from the primary attachment figure
Sexuality systems
are developed from early attachment, those who has secure attach-ments will form healthy sexual relation-
ships, those who had avoidant attach-
ment styles are more likely to find
sex without love pleasurable
Found a correlation of
between 0.1 and 0.5
between the stability of
early attachment and
later relationships
Another pair of researchers suggested that this is not a way to measure the long lasting affect of attachment type, as attachment type in later relationships is
specific to the relation-ship, and found that relationship breakdowns occur because the dynamic shifts from secure to insecure
Longditudinal study:
25 years, 78 participants, studied at 4 points in life: infancy, early childhood, adolescence, adulthood.
Parents report on attachment behaviour at 1
Teachers rate how well children interact with peers at 6-8
Participants describe close friendships at age 16.
Romantic partners asked to describe relatinship experiences.
Found most socially competent children at age 6-8, had secure attachment as infants, those kids also were closer
to friends at 16, those kids more expressive and emotionally
attached to partner.
This study relies on a variety of self
report methods, whose answers
may have been exaggerated or
played down in order to make
the child appear more
More likely to experience mood disorders (depression, anger, anxiety) and those who are sexually abused more likely to have trouble forming healthy adult relationships
Develop damaged ability to form healthy adult relationships, through an inability to trust, resulting in social isolation and inhibiting the formation of romantic relationships. They form disordered attachments, which leads to difficulty regulating emotions, meaning the relationship quickly breaks down.
Two researchers conducted a study on women who had been abused as children, found that they had negative reactions toward another partner (expectations of rejection, emotional distancing) but only if they person reminded them of their abuser.
Those results were not found in peopl ho did not remind them of the parent.
Supports the idea that those abused when younger use inappropriate behavioural patterns in their subsequent relationships.
Gender Bias:
Only conducted on women
Interaction with Peers
Childhood friendships
adolescent relationships
Children get an idea of self worth from friends at a young age, as certain experiences can become internalised, as a result, it affects how they approach adult relationships
Nangle et al: Children's friendships are 'training' for important adult relationships, close friendships mean affection, a sense of alliance, sharing secrets, trust. These feelings, along with that of being important and understood, are important in adult relationships, and so it is important a child learns to recognise and accept them at an early age.
Help to achieve separation from parents, allow to gain new emotional and physical intimacy. Both of these factors are important in the healthy maturation of the adolescent, to allow them to progress into having healthy adult relationships
One researcher studied adolescent's between 15-17 1/2 frequency of dating, then the quality of theradult relationships between the ages of 20-22.
Found those who had had low-moderate levels of romance had healthy relationships, whereas those who'd had lots of adolescent relationships had poor adult relationships. Suggesting benefit to a point
One researcher found that adolescent relationships increased deviance, by as much as 35%.
Another found that adoescent involvement in early to mid adolescence was associated with decreased academic achievement.
Roisman however found no affect of adolescent relationship frequency on adult relationship quality.
Early Diets
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