Socio-biological views of Human Aggression.

Essay by TooCoolforSchoolUniversity, Bachelor's April 2003

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Jasmine Donovan

ANTH 214 Mackres

12:30 p.m. T/Th


Sociobiological views of Human Aggression

The Webster's dictionary defines sociobiology as, "The study of the biological determinants of social behavior, based on the theory that such behavior is often genetically transmitted and subject to evolutionary processes." Basically, human behaviors are due to our genetic makeup, rather than it being learned from culture. In supporting that, a revolutionary ethologist, Konrad Lorenz, developed an elaborate biological hypothesis based on his recorded comparisons with human and animal behavior. In 1966, he wrote a book, On Aggression, which outlined that in the long period of human evolution, certain genes were selected that evolved an aggressive instinct in humans.(Scupin p.138) He said that this instinct resulted from natural selection because of inter-group competition and hostility. (p.138)

Sociobioligists believe that human aggressiveness is directly related to the knowledge of ape aggression. Originally, our earlier ancestors were something like an opossum or a bush baby that ate on fruits or large insects by themselves, rather than socially.

(Wrangham & Peterson p.130) Our 'grandmothers' and 'grandfathers' all had these grasping hands and large forward-facing eyes. Among these characteristics that were passed down, there was a typical mammalian set of aggressive behavior patterns. (p.131)

One noticeable aggressive behavior was that of protecting their territory. This sort of territorial defense was most always carried out by the females rather than the males. (Montagu p.231) In some monkey species, the fight would progress to a group of females forming a tight barrier - these females moving shoulder to shoulder, snarling, and screaming at the opposing 'team' which could be only a few feet away. (Wrangham & Peterson p.130) This aggression is very different from the violence and anger shown by chimpanzees. The goal in chimp fights over land is basically seeing...