Sunday, March 26, 2017


The expression of aggression, at times, seems very commonplace especially within our news cycle. For example, there has been a recent incident-car and bridge killing in London; bomb threats against Jewish community centers; stabbing in New York; kidnapping, political rhetoric regarding building walls, expelling nonresidents, limiting immigrants, a significant addition to the military budget, North Korea’s missile threat, NBA’s Matt Barnes “I want to kill the King’s”, along with comments last year like “lock her up etc. etc. Thus we have verbal and physical aggression. The following are a few viewpoints regarding aggression, anger, hostility and destruction. Darwin’s theory of evolution pointed to “survival of the fittest.” Thus, he suggested that man was hardwired. Prehistoric man had to be competitive, in order to live and survive. Freud’s psychoanalytic theory built on that idea and it evolved when he later postulated the notion of a destructive instinct-drive in order to better and more fully explain man’s cruelty toward himself and toward others. Henry Murray postulated the idea that a need was hypothetical process .He believed that man’s aggression was a need and physiological. He then labeled aggression as a human need. He briefly described aggression as: “to overcome opposition forcefully; to fight; to revenge; to injure; to attack, injure or kill another; to oppose forcefully or to punish another. The above ideas viewed aggression as built-in within man’s nature. Employing his hypothesis, we find that it is a human characteristic with motivational and emotional qualities which described interpersonal interactions. Another view of aggression was presented by American psychologists with a behavioristic orientation. They discounted the biological aspect in understanding aggression. They believed that aggression was learned and the behavior was the result of the ratio of positive and negative consequences of rewards and punishments. Newborn infants cry as they do not have another way of communicating with the caregiver. The caregiver can respond to crying behavior by ignoring, constantly attempting to comfort, yelling, or even spanking. Often, sleepless caregivers have difficulty using sound judgment. And there is no sure manual for the correct caregiver response. Thus, rewards and punishments begin early. Later on, the young child misbehaves, according to some caretaker notion. Does that caretaker ignore the behavior; yell or say unkind words to the child; or, does the caretaker use physical techniques such as spanking or pinching some body part of the child? Once again, positive and negative consequences are employed by the adult along with modeling and/or imitating aggressive or nonaggressive behavior. In an attempt to stop aggressive behavior, some caretakers employed aggressive behavior. As a consequence, aggressive behavior can be learned by the child. To Be Continued

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