Wk 6: Attraction and Aggression

  1. What predicts attraction?
    • Propinquity (proximity) effect: the finding that the more we see and interact with people, the more likely they are to become our friends. 
    • Mere exposure effect: the finding that the more exposure we have to a stimulus, the more apt we are to like it. 
    • Similarity: opinions, personality, interests, experiences, appearance, genetics
    • Perceived similarity more important than actual similarity. 
    • Reciprocal liking: knowing the other person likes us fuels attraction. 
    • Physical attractiveness: symmetry, familiarity (similar to own face), 
    • Halo effect: a cognitive bias by which we tend to assume that an individual with one positive characteristic also possesses other (even unrelated) positive characteristics). 
    • Evolutionary: according to this perspective, men and women are attracted to different characteristics because this maximises their reproductive success.
  2. How have new technologies shaped attraction and social connections?
    • Basic predictors of attraction such as propinquity, similarity and familiarity manifest themselves differently with new technology.
    • Online dating expands pool of potential mates, but carries its own risks such as unproven compatibility algorithms and deceptive profile description and photos.
  3. Aggression
    Intentional behaviour aimed at causing physical harm or psychological pain to another person
  4. Hostile vs Instrumental aggression
    • Hostile: aggression stemming from feelings of anger and aimed at inflicting pain or injury
    • Instrumental: aggression as a means to some goal other than causing pain.
  5. Evolutionary view of aggression
    • Evol. Psychs argue that 
    • Male aggression starts in childhood. Assert dominance and status, to ensure mate is not with other men.
    • When females behave aggressively, usually to protect offspring. 
    • Hormone thought to fuel aggression. Higher in males. (correlational)
    • Innate in most animals, survival value. Nearly all organisms have evolved strong inhibitory mechanisms.
  6. Culture and aggression
    • Most social psychologists believe aggression is an optional strategy- we have the capacity but expressing it is learned and depends on circumstance and culture. 
    • Culture of honour: cultures where man's reputation must be maintained through aggression. Encouraged when it fulfils a powerful part of the male role and identity.
  7. Gender and aggression
    • Men are more likely than women to commit physical aggression in provocative situations, pick fights with strangers and commit crimes of violence.
    • Great overlap between genders for less violent physical aggression. 
    • Gender differences are reduced when women are as provoked or when cultural norms foster female aggression.
    • Relational aggression: harming another person through the manipulation of relationships. Girls more likely to be involved
  8. Social-cognitive learning theory
    • Theory that people learn social behaviour (eg. aggression, altruism) in large part through observation and imitation of others and by cognitive processes such as plans, expectations and beliefs.
    • Bandura Bobo doll
  9. Physiological influences on aggression
    • Effects of alcohol: Increases aggressive behaviour. lowers inhibitions and anxiety making us less cautious.
    • Alcohol impairs the part of the brain involved in planning and controlling behaviour and the way we process information.
    • Think-drink effect: the expectation of the effects of alcohol is a higher predictor than actual quantity of alcohol. 
    • Effects of pain and heat: if an animal is in pain and cannot flee it will almost invariably attack. Other forms of bodily discomfort also lower the threshold for aggressive behaviour.
    • Climate change increases rate of aggression: 1. discomfort causes irritability, 2. indirect effects of climate of global warming on economic and social factors known to put children and adolescents at risk for becoming violent; poverty, poor prenatal and childhood nutrition, poor education and living in a disorganised and unstable neighbourhood. 3. effects of rapid climate change on populations whose livelihoods and survival are at risk as a result of droughts, flooding, famine and war.
  10. Situational and social causes of aggression: Frustration and aggression
    • Frustration-Aggression theory: theory that frustration- the perception that you are being prevented from attaining a goal- increases that probability of an aggressive response. 
    • Factors that increase frustration: closeness to goal/ object of desire. 
    • Frustration does not always produce aggression, rather it produces anger, annoyance and a readiness to aggress if other things are conducive to aggressive behaviour. Eg. size and strength of person who caused frustration, ability to retaliate, if it was legitimate and unintentional. 
    • Important cause of aggression is relative deprivation: the perception that you (or your group) have less than you deserve, less than what you had been led to expect or less than what people similar to you have.
  11. Situational and social causes of aggression: Provocation and reciprocation
    • Aggression frequently stems from the need to reciprocate after being provoked by aggressive behaviour from another person. 
    • We do not always reciprocate, pause to decide if it was intentional. 
    • Also knowing prior circumstances of aggressor reduces reciprocation as insult is not taken personally.
  12. Excitation transfer model
    • Arousal transfers from one situation to another and promotes the likelihood of aggression.
    • Eg. Jogger comes home, provoked by neighbour, heart rate and breathing already increased due to workout, however jogger attributed arousal to neighbour, therefore responds aggressively.
  13. Situational and social causes of aggression: Weapons as aggressive cues
    • Weapons effect: the increase in aggression that can occur because of the mere presence of a gun or other weapon. 
    • Exp: Students gave stronger electric shocks in presence of gun than presence of badminton racquet. 
    • Interaction with guns increases testosterone levels.
  14. How to decrease aggression: does punishing aggression reduce aggression?
    • Children who are physically punished tend to become more aggressive and anti social over time. 
    • Children likely to respond with anxiety or anger.
    • Often fails because it tells the target what not to do but not what the person should do. 
    • Using punishment on violent adults:
    • Punishment can act as a deterrent only if it meets two conditions: punishment must be a) prompt and b) certain. These conditions are almost never met in real life. 
    • Not likely to deter crime.
  15. How to decrease aggression: Catharsis and aggression
    • Catharsis: Freud's psychoanalytic notion that 'blowing off steam'- by behaving aggressively or watching others do so- relieves built-up anger and aggressive energy and hence reduces the likelihood of further aggressive behaviour. Not supported by evidence. 
    • Freud held a 'hydraulic' idea of aggressive impulses:  unless people were allowed to express ("sublimate") their aggression in harmless or constructive ways, he believed, their aggressive energy would build and energy would seek an outlet either exploding into acts of extreme violence or manifesting itself as symptoms of mental illness.
    • Effects of aggressive acts on subsequent aggression: Competitive games often make participants and observers more aggressive. Direct aggression against source of anger increases further aggression.
    • Aggression leads to cognitive dissonance which leads to self-justification of act, increasing hostility.
  16. What to do with anger
    • Actively enabling it to dissipate: counting to 10/100, doing a pleasant, distracting activity.
    • Venting vs self awareness: Calmly stating you are feeling angry and describing non-judgementally, what you believe the other person did to bring about those feelings.
    • Can be helpful to write down feelings.
    • Training in communication and problem solving skills: kids taught constructive ways of behaving acted less aggressively when frustrated.  Sincere apology taking full responsibility. 
    • Countering dehumanisation by building empathy: Students trained to empathise (take perspective of the other person) behaved far less aggressively.
Card Set
Wk 6: Attraction and Aggression
Wk 6: Attraction and Aggression Chapter 10 and Chapter 12