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Are Humans By Nature Aggressive? Essay

1568 words - 6 pages

If sexuality was the main issue that has preoccupied psychologists in the early twentieth century, aggression is the primary concern of the XXI century. Aggression has been studied a lot especially in terms of social significance. Most contradictory discussions about human aggression were focused on the innate-acquired main report. Some theories emphasize that aggression is fixed within our genetic code, while others sustain that factors such as education, environment, life experiences leave a mark on our behaviour, sometimes leading to aggression.
Anderson and Bushman describe human aggression as "any behaviour directed toward another individual that is carried out with the proximate (immediate) intent to cause harm. In addition, the perpetrator must believe the behaviour will cause harm and that the target is motivated to avoid the behaviour".
Concerning the origin of human aggression, two main theories were developed: on one side, there is the innate character of aggression, under the form of insinctive aggression, and on the other side, aggressive behavior is believed to be acquired through social determination.For the innate trait of aggression pleaded both ethologists and psychoanalysts and the reply to their statements came from the behaviourists.
The innate theories of aggression were supported by diverse arguments, biological, ethological and psychoanalytical concepts and among the promoters are McDougall, Lorenz, Freud, Brown, Conner.
Ethology or behavioral biology, is the science that studies the behavior of creatures, related to the habits and customs, the relations between species and the response to environmental stimuli. Through studies done over time, ethologists have sought to better understand the innate part of human behavior, and the one acquired through cultural influence. Ethology research had an important role in understanding aggressive behavior in both animals and humans.

W. McDougal (1923), one of the founders of social psychology, pleaded for the existence of an "aggressive instinct".It seems that especially after Konrad Lorenz’s work on aggression (“On Aggression”, 1966) the idea of its biological nature was consolidated.In theses issued by Konrad Lorenz, Nobel laureate and one of the initiators of this approach, he claims that all creatures are naturally aggressive for the purpose of survival, humans being no exception. Therefore, aggressive behavior is rooted in the phylogenetic adaptation to environmental dangers. Thus, aggression led to the survival of those specimens equipped with the necessary features to their defeat or subdue their opponents, the powerful obtaining access to more resources and of better quality at the expense of the weak . However, while other species have developed natural selection mechanisms in order to contain the level of aggression in the struggle for survival, humans are characterized by the absence of this blocking instinct of violence toward the others.
Although initially in their...

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