Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Aggression Theory


Although aggression is a natural emotion, it is a very social act. It is learned from parents, peers and the media and people are likely to be more aggressive when they believe it will increase their social standing. It can also be cathartic, allowing us to let of steam.
Aggression also increases when:
  • You think you are safe from response.
  • The other person deliberately acts against you.
  • You hurt, physically or emotionally (not necessarily caused by the other person).
  • You have been drinking alcohol or taking other stimulants.
  • Testosterone is present.
  • There was aggression in your early life.
  • You think you are getting less than you deserve.
  • You have been attacked and are defending or responding.
  • You blame your victim and then take further revenge.
  • You watched a lot of violence on TV, especially when you were a child.
Seeing violence, whether it is real-life or via the media gives legitimacy, teaches people how to do it and desensitizes them to the horrors.


Phillips (1983, 1986) found that homicides increased after a well-publicized boxing match. When white boxers lost, more white men were killed, and vice versa.

So What?

Using it

Feign aggression in order to get short-term immediate response.
If you really do feel aggressive, take a break to cool down. Otherwise you'll likely do something you regret later.


Severe punishment usually requires significant aggression and does not reduce it. It is more effective to use the threat of mild punishment.
Give people space to vent their frustrations by such as competitive sports. Even letting them say ‘I am angry’ will help. Apology also reduces anger. Teach them empathy. Be a model non-aggressive person.
Apologize (even it if is not your fault). Say that it will not happen again. Empathize with their pain (but not with their aggression or aggressive acts). Show that you are human (defend against them dehumanizing you).


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