Biological Approach To Aggression

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Aggression is defined by Anderson and Bushman (2002) as ‘behaviour directed towards another individual carried out with the proximate (immediate) intent to cause harm’. Whether physical or verbal, aggressive behaviour is frowned upon and being able to understand the causes and influences can help us inform how best to prevent or manage these behaviours. Reductionist approaches take a complex human behaviour such as aggression to be reducible by breaking it down into simpler components. There are different levels of explanation that aggression can be reduced to including biological causes such as hormone levels and genetic factors, behavioural explanations such as the social learning theory and social influences such as deindividuation. This…show more content…
The biological approach is an example of physiological reductionism which is the lowest level of explanation as it reduces aggressive behaviour to physiological components such as hormonal mechanisms. One hormonal mechanism found to be associated with aggression is the male sex hormone testosterone. Archer (1991) analysed 230 males in over 5 studies and found low correlations between aggression and testosterone levels. However, this research is questionable as the measurements of aggression differed between studies and correlations were lower when aggression was measured by hostility inventories. Furthermore, this research is androcentric and therefore if testosterone levels cannot explain aggression in women then this does not provide a full explanation as to why aggression occurs. A meta-analysis of 45 studies (Book, Starzyk & Quinsev, 2001) also found a low…show more content…
This explanation argues genetic endowment provides an inherited predisposition to be aggressive promotes aggressive behaviour. Miles and Carey (1997) did a meta-analysis of 24 twin and adoption studies and found there was a strong genetic makeup that linked with aggression. 50% of the variance in aggression between groups was down to genes. Rhee and Waldman (2002) offer further support as their meta-analysis of 51 twin and adoption studies and found aggressive behaviour was largely attributed to genetics. This approach relies heavily on the method of twin and adoption studies which are flawed. Twin studies suffer from an equal environmental assumption of MZ and DZ twins, when in fact MZ twins don’t share the same environment (Joseph, 1998). Moreover, adoption studies are correlational and therefore limited as they cannot establish cause and effect as other factors such as the age of adoption, pre-natal environment and differential parenting may contribute to aggressive

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