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Aggression: Origins, Theories & Differences

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  • 0:05 Origins of Aggression
  • 0:26 Biological Explanations
  • 1:19 External Factors
  • 2:35 Cultural and Gender…
  • 3:32 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Paul Bautista
What roles do nature and nurture play in aggressive tendencies? You'll explore origins of aggression and how acceptance of this behavior may differ among societies.

Are some people 'natural born killers'? Can aggressive behavior be triggered by external factors? Or is it a learned behavior that's modeled by others?

First of all, aggression shouldn't be confused with assertiveness. Aggression is violence against someone or something with intent to harm.

Origins of Aggression

  1. Biological explanations for aggressive behavior have been proposed, including genetic predisposition or high testosterone levels.

Frontal lobe damage has been linked to the inability to control aggression
Frontal Lobe Damage

In 1959, Russian geneticist Dmitri Belyaev conducted an experiment to determine whether selective breeding could result in a tamer species of silver fox. Over a period of just ten years, Belyaev was able to domesticate the foxes by breeding only the nice, friendly foxes and turning the unfriendly ones into fur coats. Now, after 50 years of selectively breeding 35 generations of foxes, the experiment has shown that aggression is, in part, genetic.

Other biological reasons might lead to aggressive behavior. For example, an examination of prisoners of violent crimes has linked frontal lobe damage and an inability to control aggression.

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