Perspectives On Fear And Aggression Essay

1294 words - 5 pages

Perspectives on Fear and AggressionIn the study of Psychology, particularly human behaviour, both aggression and fear are hotly debated topics among theorists. Aggression and fear are both inherent in our world and both serve different functions. Fear refers to a personal fear and can be observed on a personal level, whereas aggression is a group subject, usually concerned with more than one person. These two very primal emotions seem almost out of place in this modern world, and so the conflicting theories, which attempt to explain both fear and aggression, can differ tremendously in their attempt to rationalize this facet of human behaviour. The two topics I will discuss in this essay are, as I mentioned, still disputed today. By addressing them we can see the controversial nature of psychology.Psychologists consider Fear and Anxiety to be almost exactly the same thing. Fear is the 1. An unpleasant emotion caused by threat of danger, pain, or harm (Oxford 2002) anxiety, or anxiousness is 1.feeling of worry or unease (op. sit.). So similar are the two in terms of psychological study, they have been baled together. There are many different theories throughout the psychological community concerning fear, its origins and meanings.Social learning Psychologists, for example, take a very definite stance on fear, they believe that it is a learnt emotion and is not a genetic reflex or understanding we are born with. Social Learning psychology proposes 'True fear requires a rather sophisticated level of cognitive development' (Schnell et. al. 1975, p. 167).Social learning Psychologists suggest that true fear, what we think of as fear, can only be truly experienced when a child has learnt about 'fear'. To be afraid of something a child must either have experiences something with negative effects or experience something described to them as frightening. The child who fears must have a memory of fear. A child, excepting outside influence, can never fear something new. 6-month-old Roberta when approached by the big hairy monster was not frightened. She could only ever truly fear the monster if she had a) already met it once and it had hurt her, roared loudly or similar, or b) been told the story of a monster with descriptions of it's appearance and negative deeds.This means that also fear experienced through gradual conditioning. John was smacked when he ate lollies, so when he thinks of lollies, John becomes anxious (Atkinson et. al. 1983).Social learning psychologists, when studying fear are always fascinated to report the reinforcing nature of fear, that fear, if not analysed and confronted, never gives the sufferer a chance to rid them of fear. Jenny who is scared of spiders, will scream and run from them, (which itself is a self perpetuating action as it increases anxiety) never allowing herself to see that spiders are quite unlikely to attack, and indeed, are more inclined to remove themselves from such an exciting atmosphere. (op. sit.)Another...

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