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Psychodynamic Explanation of Aggression - GCSE Psychology

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Kieran Hudspith

on 28 February 2013

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Transcript of Psychodynamic Explanation of Aggression - GCSE Psychology

Aggression Psychodynamic Explanation Freud... Again Freud suggested that we have an unconscious drive that causes aggressive behaviour, just like the unconscious drive that leads to sexual behaviour. He put forward the idea that our aggressive behaviour is caused by the internal force, or instinct, which is called Thanatos. He said that all the time this force would be building up inside of us until we can no longer control it, resulting in aggressive behaviour More Freud... Freud said that everyone had this instinct towards self-destruction and we protect ourselves by using ego defence mechanisms. This redirects our aggression outwards so rather ourselves, we direct this energy at others or some place safe. Two defense mechanisms Freud identified were:
- Displacement - being aggressive towards others
- Sublimation - channeling our aggression into other acceptable activities Dollard et al (1939) Dollard argued Freuds idea (YES)
He said that although we might have an aggressive instinct building up inside of us, it would not just spill over into aggressive behaviour for no reason and that we need a trigger for this to happen (example: a loaded gun needs to have the trigger pulled, before it fires)
Dollard put forward the frustration-aggression explanation. This claimed that for the aggressive behaviour to happen, we need a trigger which is normally something that would frustrate us e.g. being late, losing things, having an argument etc. Megargee and Mendelsohn Freud's theory was alot harder to support. However, there is some supporting evidence.
Aim: To see if there is a link between aggression and personality types.
Method: People who had committed brutally aggressive crimes were interviewed and given personality tests.
Results: These criminals seemed to have been 'over controlled' and repressed their anger until it built up to such an extent it just exploded following something really trivial. Megargee and Mendelsohn
Continued... Conclusion - If people do not let their aggression instinct out in small amounts from time to time, the build-up will be so great they will not be able to control it.
Evaluations:
- Hard to generalise
- People can lie in interviews and personality tests
- It is difficult to standardise 'frustration'. What is frustrating for once person may not be for another. How can we reduce this? Freud ( -_- ) suggested two ideas to do this, one was through redirecting the built up aggression into other safe activities using ego defence mechanisms. The other was to release them through catharsis - this is when we observe or watch aggressive behaviour on television or via a stage performance, and by watching aggressive behaviour it would, as they say, 'get it out of our system'. Another way Freud suggested was to find a safe activity that would require a certain amount of energy. This is called sublimation. If we can put energy into a safe activity, such as sport, it will reduce the build up of our aggressive behaviour instinct. Evaluation The frustration-aggression theory suggested the best way to reduce aggression is to avoid situations that cause frustration. This can be difficult as quite often, you are not in control of the things that cause the aggression such as your favorite football team losing, however, the theory said that since it is still frustration, it would still cause an aggressive outburst and that avoiding this would be the best way to avoid an aggressive outburst. Cross-over Evaluation The biological explanation and the psychodynamic explanation contradict each other. For example, if you are at a football match and then team you are supporting loses, you will become frustrated and therefore aggressive. However, according the biological explanations, if the team you support wins, there will be an increase in your testosterone levels and you will also become more aggressive.
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