Aggression in Human Beings

Aggression is defined as physical or verbal behavior intended to harm. Aggression can either be directed inward by self-mutilation or suicide, or directed outwardly at another person. There are many things that human aggression has been blamed on, including broken homes, racism, poverty, chemical imbalances in the brain, toy guns, inequality, TV violence, sexual repression, sexual freedom, and bad genes. Some believe that all of these potential causes have one thing in common: unfulfilled human needs and desires. Fortunately when most people’s needs are not met they do not turn to violence to deal with their frustrations. Nevertheless, self-control sometimes breaks down, resulting in aggression ranging from petty theft to murder. Aggressive behavior is often used to claim status, precedent, or access to an object or territory. The main objective of aggression is that it is deliberate, accidental injuries are not forms of aggression. There are many theories about the causes of aggression. Those that believe that aggression is biological are based on the idea that aggression in an innate human instinct or drive. Freud explains aggression as a death with or instinct that is turned outward toward others in a process called displacement. Some ethologists have advanced views about aggression in humans based on their observations of animal behavior. The aggressive instinct builds up spontaneously, with or without outside provocation, until it is likely to be discharged with minimal or no provocation from outside stimuli. Today, this instinct theory has been largely discredited in favor of other explanations. Another theory is the frustration-aggression theory, proposing that aggression, rather than occurring spontaneously, is a response to the frustration of some goal-directed behavior by an outside source. These goals may include such basic needs as food, water, sleep, sex, love, and recognition. Also established was that an environmental stimulus must produce not just frustration but anger as well in order for aggression to follow, and that anger can be the result of stimuli other than frustrating situations.
On the other hand, social learning theory focuses on aggression as a learned behavior. It stresses the role of the social influences of aggressive behavior. Aggressive behavior may be learned through a combination of modeling and reinforcement. Studies have found that network television averages 10 violent acts per hour, but there are some that have argued that this type of violence does not cause violence in society and may even have a beneficial effect. However there are arguments stating the opposite is true as well. Aggression can also be a means of acquiring what someone wants, motivation by reward. Another motivation is stress such as crowding, noise, and temperature.

There will always be aggression in the world, but there are ways to handle it. Some self-control techniques are: (1) Avoid frustrating situations by noting where you got angry in the past. (2) Reduce your anger by taking time, focusing on other emotions. (3) Respond calmly to an aggressor with empathy or mild, unprovocative comments or with no response at all. (4) Train yourself to be empathetic with others; be tolerant of human weakness; and be forgiving. Every method has to be customized to each individual. Preventing anger from welling up inside is key to controlling the urges of aggression. Knowing what brings on the anger and avoiding conversations that are upsetting may be the best way to prevent aggression. Explain yourself and understand others will help get rid of the irritation. When we are mad, we frequently attempt an over kill, for example, hurt the person who hurt us a lot more. Thus the saying, “violence breeds violence” is true, violence produces more hate in your opponent and in you. Do whatever you can to stop your impulsive aggression, even a brief delay may permit you to think of a more constructive response. Reward yourself when you have better control over your temper. Ignoring aggressive behavior reduces aggression and prepares the individual to accept future frustration much easier. We must dedicate ourselves to improving the world starting with ourselves.

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