What is the origin of aggressive behavior?

Essay by Trent_in_ChinaHigh School, 11th gradeB+, January 2007

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When evaluating aggression as a behavior we have to consider a person's intentions as well as the outcome. Elliot Aronson defined aggression as 'behavior aimed at causing harm or pain'. The act of aggression can be seen to be expressed in two different ways depending on where it is assumed to originate from. Those who believe aggression is learned behavior typically emphasize behavior in defining aggression, aggression must result in harm. Those who believe aggression as innate drive typically emphasize intentions in defining aggression, which may be expressed symbolically. Aggression is mostly viewed as behavior which causes intentional harm to another person.

The biological approach looks at the behavior of aggression as the result of heredity. Aggression originates from innate characteristics of human beings, not the from the environment around them. The mapping of the human brain to identify areas responsible for specific areas of behavior is evidence for the biological perspective on aggression.

Based on this idea of localization function, researchers have sought after areas of the brain with control aggressive behavior such as the hypothalamus and the amygdale. However the theory goes beyond research because much of this argument has been based on animal studies. Pain causing aggression is also seen as a possible biological solution to aggression. Stimuli which cause pain will often trigger aggressive behavior. Also seen that aversive stimuli can also trigger aggression in people. Studies of gender differences in aggression have also been suggestive of a biological mechanism, men are usually more aggressive then women because of the role of hormones. If aggression does have an innate foundation such as proposals by studies in gender, it is likely that it is the product of evolution. Lornez supported this idea, he believed that many human characteristics were based on inherited mechanism. Aggression to Lorenz served...