Social Psychology:

James Neill

Centre for Applied Psychology

University of Canberra

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Perceiving Others


The Biology of Aggression

Theories of Aggression

Psychodynamic view:

  • Emphasises the innate/instinctual aspect of aggression
  • Triggers include anger, frustration, shame

Evolutionary view:

  • All animals display the capacity to harm or kill other members of their species
  • Aggression: strategy evoked when survival or reproductive success is threatened

The Biology of Aggression

Theories of Aggression

  • Cognitive neoassociation theory: Exposure to aversive stimuli trigger aggressive thoughts and actions.
  • Cognitive-social perspective: Aggression results from reward, punishment, cognitive processes and social learning
  • General aggression model: Person and situation variables combine to determine the presence of aggression
  • Conflict


    Person Perception



    Myers, D. G. (2001). Social Psychology (Ch. 18). In D. G. Myers (2001). Psychology (6th ed.) (pp. 643-688). New York: Worth.

    Westen, D., Burton, L., & Kowalski, R. (2006). Psychology. Australian and New Zealand Edition. Queensland: Wiley.