You are on page 1of 28

Discuss 2 explanations of institutional aggression Institutional aggression refers to - violent behaviour that exists within some institutions &

groups. - & also to forms of collective violence between social groups. Institutions may be distinct (e.g. sch, prison) or larger bodies (police, army). Acts range from physical abuse in initiation tests, to acts to destroy a national, racial or religious group (genocide). Resultantly, inst. aggression involves more complex psychological processes than interpersonal aggression & may have more traumatic consequences for victims. Institutional aggression in prisons High statistics in England & Wales show prisons are violent for both inmates & workers. 2 models are proposed importation & deprivation, to explain why interpersonal violence occurs so regularly in prisons.

Importation model Irwin & Cressey

claims inmates who enter prison w/certain characteristics (e.g. values, attitudes & experiences) are more likely to engage in interpersonal violence than other inmates. Interpersonal violence in prisons isnt a product of the institution, but the charac.s of individuals who enter. Younger inmates have more difficulty adjusting to prison and so are more likely to have confrontations w/inmates & staff. Theyre also more likely to view violence as an appropriate response to conflict. This assumptions confirmed in a no. of studies (e.g. Adams).

US research shows Black inmates compared w/Whites, are more likely to be associated w/interpersonal violence.
An explanation is: black prisoners often enter prison from more impoverished communities w/higher violent crime rates.

Thus, they import into the prison the cultural norms that condone violent behaviour.

Deprivation model

claims its the features of the prison rather than of inmates that accounts for prison violence. It argues its mainly the experience of imprisonment that causes inmates high stress & frustration which leads to violence + aggression against inmates and staff.

Harer et al describe how inmate behaviour is a response to problems of adjustment posed by the deprivations or pains of imprisonment.

Sykes says these pains include the

loss of freedom & of heterosexual relationships isolation from the free community - boredom, discomfort + loneliness.

As inmates endure pains, they engage in interpersonal violence as a reaction to the hurt felt.

For example,

overcrowding in UK prisons forced many inmates to share cells and is linked to an increase in - interpersonal violence, - self-harming and suicides.

Violence is common in crowded prisons as the conditions exacerbate tensions among inmates, & between inmates and staff.

The power of the situation and the effect of dehumanizing labels

Zimbardo stresses the influence the situation can have on peoples willingness to harm others. When psych. well-adjusted students played roles of guards, they became brutal + abusive towards prisoners. This prison study showed how institutional factors, e.g. the lack of external constraints and peer pressure,

led guards to disregard the harm of their actions towards prisoners. Without external constraints, people are at greater risk of deviating from societal norms of conduct. True of prison study & real-life cases such as the abuse of prisoners in Iraq.

Zimbardo also argues people are: - likelier to be aggressive when they dehumanize/label others. E.g. In Banduras experiment, student Ps overheard an assistant refer to other students as - animals - while in another condition, as nice. When later required to deliver electric shocks to other students, higher shocks were given in the first condition.

Evaluation of institutional aggression in prisons

Research support for the importation model

Harer analysed data from 58 US prisons and found: Black inmates showed more violent behaviour but lower rates of alcohol and drug abuse compared to whites inmates.

They concluded it reflected racial diffs in these behaviours within US society generally, supporting the claim that characteristics are imported into prison. Keller & Wang also found violence more likely in facilities holding the most troublesome inmates. E.g. prisons w/maximum-security inmates had more assaults on staff, than prisons w/lower-security inmates.

Limitations of the importation model

McCorkle et al. claim this model fails to suggest how to reduce prison violence in general. The importation model also predicts membership of a violent gang prior to imprisonment results in more violence in prison, as gang members import gang involvement into prison. However, DeLisis study of over 800 male inmates found no evidence that gang membership prior to prison had any bearing on violence within the prison.

Research support for the deprivation model

Although some studies support the dep. model of prison violence, McCorkles large study failed to support it. The sample of 371 US state prisons found little evidence to support the link between violence and measures like overcrowding and living conditions.

Limitations of the deprivation model

McCorkle points out that: levels of stress associated w/imprisonment (e.g. loss of freedom, overcrowding) are generally constant, whereas serious outbreaks of violence e.g. in prison riots, are not.
imprisonment Violent outbreaks stress

They claim serious violence is more of a consequence of the management of prisons rather than the general deprivation all prisoners endure.

Challenging the dep. model is the finding that among: juvenile offenders in 4 diff. prisons,
pre-institutional violence was the best predictor of inmate aggression,

regardless of the features of the prison (Pole & Regoli) This supports the importation model

Real-life relevance

Zimbardo claims the same social psych. processes found in the prison study also occurred in the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. These included: - deindividuation, - dehumanization, - group conformity and lack of supervision, which led to a diminished sense of accountability from the guards responsible for the abuse.

Institutional aggression in initiation rituals

Initiation rituals are for new members of a gp.

Rituals can be painful and mentally stressful

1 function is to create a common bond among members of a gp. new recruits feel part of a select gp whose members have endured the same extreme rituals

In the US, hazing, (painful rituals)

for males is done to symbolically take away the weakness of childhood and replace it w/the confidence of adulthood. (Raphael)

Raphael suggests if initiates tackle extreme initiation, they know they can handle the rest. Its based on a belief of what it takes to be a real man, w/an emphasis on - physical and mental toughness - and obedience to superiors.

As a result, hazing occurs in the military. In the Russian Army, a violent ritual involves nightly beatings from drill sergeants.

However, a high-profile incident in which: a private was forced to sit on a block of ice for 4 hrs ending w/the amputation of his leg, prompted investigation into this practice.

Evaluation of initiation rituals explanation

Research support

Many studies found evidence of the use of initiation rituals - to establish dominance - and initiate newcomers in institutions e.g. colleges, the police and military.

McCorkle found in prisons, domination of the weak in initiation rituals was seen by inmates as essential to maintaining status.

Why is Hazing so effective?

Festingers cognitive dissonance theory explains the effectiveness of Hazing. In hazing, those who endure a painful ritual, while believing its pointless/wrong, will feel uncomfortable cognitive dissonance b/c the action conflicts (is dissonant) w/the belief. When the initiate reflects an attitude change to reduce dissonance is likely to occur, and the initiate will come to value the experience.

In this way, the value of group membership, and the degree of suffering endured during initiation becomes related to the value they place on the ritual and on being a gp member (Davis).


Are chemicals that allow impulses to be transmitted from 1 brain area to another. Therefore, all behaviours are influenced by the action of neurotransmitters. Aggression in animals and humans has been associated with: - low serotonin + - high dopamine levels Serotonin and aggression Studies show normal serotonin levels inhibit neural firing in the brain (Cases). So its claimed: - low brain serotonin make people less able to control their impulsive + aggressive responses. Research support shows the major metabolite (waste product) of serotonin tends to be low in the cerebrospinal fluid of aggressive people. (Brown)

Also, Mann administered drug dexfenfluramine (Redux) to 35 healthy adults. it depletes brain serotonin. he used a Q. to assess aggression levels, and found - among males - aggression levels increased after given the drug. Dopamine and aggression Evidence suggests - increased dopamine activity (e.g. via amphetamine use) - increases aggressive behaviour (Lavine). Similarly, the use of dopamine antagonists have been used to reduce aggressive behaviour in violent delinquents (Buitelaar) Dopamines released in response to rewarding stimuli e.g. food, sex. Couppis found evidence dopamine reinforces aggression. Their research suggests some intentionally seek out aggressive encounters b/c of rewarding sensations, caused by the increase in dopamine.

Evaluation of neural mechanisms in aggression

Serotonin alternative explanations

Its possible aggression - isnt caused by low brain serotonin, - but by low serotonin metabolism which leads to increased serotonin receptors. E.g. Arora and Meltzer found a relationship between: Similarly, Mann found: violent suicide and elevated serotonin receptor density in the pre-frontal cortex. among suicide completers those w/increased pre-frontal cortex serotonin receptors chose more violent suicide methods.

Influence of serotonin on aggression may explain the relation between alcohol & aggression

Badawy found - acute alcohol intake DEPLETED serotonin levels in normal individuals, - + in susceptible people, this depletion may induce aggressive behaviour. Research support Ferrari et al support the influence of serotonin + dopamine in aggression They let a rat fight for 10 days at the same time. On the 11th day, it wasnt allowed, but researchers found that in anticipation of a fight the rats - dopamine levels increased - and serotonin decreased although it didnt fight. This shows the experience changed the animals brain chemistry, gearing it for a fight by altering levels of serotonin and dopamine in ways considered w/the onset of aggressive behaviour. Difficult to demonstrate experimentally a link between dopamine + aggression? Studies w/mice (e.g. Couppis) show the problem. . Lowering dopamine in their brain makes it hard for it to move So its difficult to explain the drop in aggressive behaviour, which could be either due to a - lack of motivation to be aggressive - or simply b/c mice find it hard to move and hence hard to respond aggressively.

(e.g. testosterone, sssHormonessssfunctions. cortisol) are chemicals that regulate and control bodily

Testosterone and aggression

Testosterone makes it more likely aggressive behaviour will be expressed. Aggression is also influenced by factors such as previous experience. Research findings include: - Books meta-analysis of 45 studies that found a mean +ive correlation of 0.14 between T & A - Olweus compared samples of institutionalized delinquent boys and non-delinquent male students. Delinquents w/violent crime records had higher testosterone than those of non-violent offences, but the difference wasnt statistically significant. However, researchers did find adolescents w/higher testosterone likelier to respond more vigorously to challenges from teachers and peers. And research shows higher testosterone is associated w/dominant behaviour thats rarely aggressive (intent to injure another) most dominant behaviours just intend to gain or maintain status (Booth et al). E.g. Kouris double-blind study showed Ps on testosterone rather than the placebo pushed a button sig. more times, to reduce cash received by the other person.

Evaluation: This experimental study enables us to claim testosterone can CAUSE aggressively dominant behaviour.


The positive influence of testosterone

However, in many older males (e.g. weightlifters) testosterone supplements have been positive and found to enhance vigour and energy (Zitzmann). Also, Barrett-Connor found depression increased w/age (50-89 yrs) and this associated w/lower testosterone. In a study of 208 men w/testosterone deficiency, increased positive mood with testosterone replacement therapy was confirmed. (McNicholas)

Inconsistent evidence on testosterone + aggression

Although some studies found testosterone positively correlates w/high aggression, other studies found no such link. E.g. Bain et al found no sig. differences in testosterone levels between - men charged w/murder, - & men charged w/non-violent burglary. Kreuz + Rose also found: no difference in testosterone levels in 21 young prisoners classed as fighting or non-fighting.

However, - the 10 prisoners w/histories of more violent crimes had sig. higher testosterone - than the 11 prisoners w/o such a history. This suggests in a population predisposed to violent behaviour e.g. by social factors to dvp antisocial behaviour, testosterone may be an additional factor that puts individuals at risk for violent behaviour.

sssCortisol and aggressionsss

Van Goozen claims an inverse correlation, where lower cortisol is associated w/higher aggressive behaviour. c

Studies report low cortisol in violent offenders and aggressive schoolchildren. Reasons are:

1. Low ANS arousal (so low cortisol) is unpleasant; aggressive behaviour attempts to create stress which provokes ANS activation and cortisol release. 2. Cortisol inhibits the chance of aggressive behaviour. Low cortisol High cortisol





Popmas study found a sig. positive relation between testosterone and overt aggression in Ps w/low cortisol but not in those w/high cortisol.

Longitudinal studies provide support

e.g. McBurnett studied 38 boys in a clinic for problem behaviours. behaviours were evaluated annually for 4 years. They found: boys w/lower cortisol showed 3 times more aggressive symptoms than boys with higher cortisol. They were also named the most aggressive by peers, 3 times as often as boys who had higher cortisol. Lack of consistent research evidence - Some studies (e.g. Gerra et al) even reported higher cortisol in Ps w/higher aggression levels.

Many studies found: no significant differences in cortisol between aggressive samples and controls.

sssThe role of genetic factors in aggressive behavioursss

Twin studies Aggressive behaviour is higher correlated in identical (MZ) than fraternal twins. E.g. McGuffin found a concordance rate of 87% for aggressive behaviour for identical twins, & 72% for DZ twins.

This finding supports genetics, + indicates the environment siblings share, influences juvenile delinquency. but the effects of each on aggression must be disentangled. Masons meta-analysis of 12 twin studies concluded Genetics may account for 50% of the diff between antisocial and non-antisocial behaviours w/larger estimates found for violent behaviours. Coccaros twin study estimated from data on 187 identical and 118 fraternal twins:

- genes accounted for 40% of individual differences in aggression - environmental influences for 50% of individual differences in physical aggression, and 70% of individual differences in verbal aggression. Adoption studies If more similarity in aggression levels between adopted children and biological parents than w/their adoptive parents, this suggests genetic influence. But if children are more similar to adoptive parents, this suggests environmental influences are more important in the development of aggressive behaviour. Danish adoptive study Hutchings + Mednick reviewed over 14,000 adoptions in Denmark. They found a sig. positive correlation between the no. of convictions for criminal violence among the biological parents (esp. fathers) and among their adopted sons. Meta-analysis of 24 twin and adoption studies Miles + Carey found a strong genetic influence, accounting for 50% of the variance in aggression. Although they found both genes and family environment influenced aggression in young people, at later stages - the influence of the rearing environment decreased - & the influence of genes increased.

Meta-analysis of twin + adoption studies Rhee & Waidman Rhee + Waidmans meta-analysis of 51 twin & adoption studies w/over 87 000 people. calculated the contribution to antisocial behaviour was approx. - 40% genetic, - 60% environmental They found little evidence of gender diffs in the data. Evaluation of research method reporting aggression

the studies in the meta-analysis used self-report, or reports by others of the Ps aggression levels. genetic influence was assessed at 39% w/self-report, and 53% when assessed by another person. This suggests the method of assessing aggression plays an important moderating role in estimates of genetic influences.

sssEvaluation of twin + adoption studiessss

Imperfect nature of twin studies

MZ identical twins share genes, but also an environment that treats them more similarly than DZ twins. B/c they look alike, society tends to treat MZ twins as 1 person. So twin studies arent the perfect genetics VS environment experiment. Gender differences in heritability

Buttons study of 258 twins aged 11-18, found genetics influence both aggressive and non-aggressive behaviour. But heritability of aggressive behaviour was sig. higher in GIRLS, these results suggest a stronger genetic effect on aggression in females than in males. Problems w/the interpretation of adoption studies

Adoption studies have methodological problems which limit conclusions that can be drawn. 1. Fergusson maintains that in some countries, e.g. New Zealand foster children & their parents show more antisocial behaviour (inc. agg) at the time of their adoption, compared w/the general population & adoptive parents. So correlations between adoptees + their biological parents may be due to either the inherited antisocial genes from parents or to environmental influences,

such as the parents antisocial behaviour (before adoption) or from feelings of abandonment.

sssGenes for aggressionsss

Candidate genes: DRD4 and DRD3

Researchers identified candidate genes that contribute to increased risk of antisocial behaviour. These studies examine whether 1 variant of a candidate gene occurs more often in people who display aggressive behaviour than in a comparison group.

Research found dysfunctions of dopamine may increase aggressive behaviour. A meta-analysis found an association between: DRD4 (gene for dop. receptor D4) and a tendency to ADHD (Fararone).

Retzs study found an association between a DRD3 variant (the gene for dopamine receptor D3) and both impulsivity and ADHD-related symptoms in violent offenders. Candidate gene for MAOA Also, researchers found the gene that makes enzyme MAOA may be associated w/aggressive behaviour. MAOA enzymes break down 3 neurotransmitters in the brain inc. Noradrenaline. Imbalances of serotonin and dopamine are found in patients w/high aggression. Violent Male Ps in Brunners study had v low levels of MAOA, + so high levels of all 3 neurotransmitters a finding that doubts low serotonin is associated w/increased aggression. A defect in the gene for MAOA was later identified in the violent members of this family; this was absent in non-violent members. Evaluation of genes for aggression Genes for aggression do not predict aggressive behaviour -

Morley + Hall argue - genes associated w/aggression are not deterministic - + only poorly predict the chance a person will display higher levels of aggressive behaviour than the general population. Also, the environmental risk factors cannot be identified by a genetic test, thus making the accurate prediction of specific behaviours even less likely. Positive implications of genetic research

Morley + Hall suggest info from genetic studies may be used to help develop new treatments for personality disorder identified as risk factors for criminal behaviour. However, consequences of such genetic tests may include findings being cited as evidence of a defendants diminished responsibility in criminal cases. Gene-environment interaction

Rather than either alone, some researchers believe interactions between genes + environment influence aggression. E.g. Caspi found male children whod been maltreated and had the gene that increased MAOA activity were less likely to express violent behaviour. Normally, an increase in MAOA would decrease serotonin (so increase aggressive behaviour). But Capsi believes early abuse may alter serotonin or decreases in serotonin affect some antisocial behaviours but not others.

sssDescribe + Evaluate 2 evolutionary explanations of aggressionsss

Infidelity and jealousy Daly + Wilson claim men evolved mate-retention strategies to deter their mate from leaving or cheating b/c W/o a mate, the chance of passing his genes on is reduced. So these strategies enhance reproductive fitness (surviving + passing genes). They include: - vigilance (e.g. mate guarding) and violence to deter infidelity. 1 is direct guarding restricting her freedom to prevent males gaining access. E.g. stopping partners speaking w/other men. Cuckoldry and sexual jealousy Cuckoldry occurs when a woman deceives partner into investing in another mans offspring. Cuckolded men risk losing invested resources & reproductive opportunity. Males evolved mate-retention strategies to prevent being cuckolded. Theyre driven by sexual jealousy, an adaptation evolved in males to deal w/paternal uncertainty. Sexual jealousy prevents the female mating w/others, so its an adaptive response. The cuckoldry risk hypothesis predicts males may use sexually coercive tactics e.g. partner rape when risk of cuckoldry is high e.g. suspecting infidelity. Lalumiere argues some men carry out partner rape to decrease paternal uncertainty. Thornhill + Thornhill argue a woman who resists sex w/her partner may signal infidelity, thus increasing the males sexual jealousy and fear of cuckoldry. Mate retention and violence Buss examined mate-retention in married couples + found: men used more debasement (e.g. giving in to her every wish) + intra-sexual threats (threatening to beat other man). But women used verbal possession hes taken & threats of punishing infidelity (leaving her man if unfaithful). Mate retention + violence against women Shackelford studied 461 men and 560 women from US unis all Ps in committed, heterosexual relationships. They found in study 1 that: mens 2 types of mate-retention strategies positively correlated w/their violence scores. 1. intersexual negative inducements (e.g. shouting at her for looking at a man) 2. direct guarding (e.g. controlling her time at a party)

In study 2 they found that: - results confirmed the validity of findings from study 1, w/reports of intersexual -ive inducements + direct guarding associated w/female-directed violence. - women also stated partners who used emotional manipulation were more likely to have used violence against them. Evaluation A limitation is data was correlational, they didnt establish a casual link between the use of mate-retention strategies and violence against women. Lack of information another limitation of research is it

doesnt control for actual relationship threats (e.g. a mans suspicion or knowledge of his partners infidelities). Evaluation of infidelity + jealousy as explanations for aggression Use of mate-retention tactics

Sexual jealousy is supported by studies of battered women, where victims cite extreme s. jealousy of partners as the major cause of violence against them. (Dobash) Wilsons study found evidence of direct guarding as mate-retention: in women reporting partners used this tactic (e.g. not allowing to talk to other men) 72% required medical attention after an assault by their partner. Practical applications of research

Mate-retention tactics may be indicators of potential violence against a partner. The use of tactics can alert friends + family of potential future violence in relationships. So relationship counselling may be used before the situation escalates into physical violence. Research supports sexual coercion

by male partners is an adaptive response to risk of infidelity. Camilleri found: - the risk of a partners infidelity - predicted the chance of sexual coercion in men but not women. Supports the adaptive explanation, as its men at risk of cuckoldry, not women. Goetz also found - men who sexually coerced partners were more likely to report thinking partners were unfaithful. - women reporting coercion were more likely to admit infidelity.

The evolution of murder

Murder as an adaptive response Buss & Duntley propose: - humans have adaptations (i.e. characs for survival) - that evolved by natural selection to produce murder. and for our ancestors, murder solved adaptive problems such as: preventing harm e.g. injury, rape or killing of the person, their family, mates by others. Reputation management e.g. avoiding being seen as easily injured, raped or killed. Protecting resources e.g. shelter + food.

Predisposing factors for murder Daly + Wilson noted males + females murder for diff reasons. Men more likely to kill men - seen as sexual rivals - or who challenge their position in the dominance hierarchy. But women are likelier to kill in self-defence e.g. murdering abusive male sexual partners. & murders were age related, peaking for males early 20s peak years of reproductive competition. Research suggests these are common factors in the competition for reproductive status: Sexual jealousy cause of same-sex aggression + murder.

B/c of infidelity and cuckoldry, men are both killers + victims. Daly + Wilson got data from 8 studies of same-sex killings involving love triangles They found - 92% of murders involved males killing males - & only 8% of females killing another female. Lack of resources (research on sexual selection shows females prefer males w/resources.) Daly + Wilson suggest a lack of resources increases male-male competition and risk of murder. They cite murder statistics in Detroit, showing

43% of male victims and 41% male killers were unemployed, although the overall unemployment rate for adult males was 11%.

Threats to male status

1. the biggest factor related to murder is maleness, 2. second is youth. Threats to status appear an important determinant of murder among young men. Daly + Wilson argue females prefer males dominant over others, so men are shaped by evolution to seek status. During competition for scarce resources (e.g. territory, mates) this status is more likely to be threatened.. they cite a strong correlation between degree of income inadequacy + murder rates countries w/more income inequality tend to have higher murder rates. According to evolution, loss of male status harmed survival + reproduction of our ancestors, & mechanisms to prevent loss of status still operate today when triggered by threatening events. Evaluation of evolutionary explanation of murder Comparative evidence

The murder as adaptation hypothesis is supported by studies of other species. Many cases of mammals killing other mammals. E.g. Male lions + cheetahs kill offspring of rival males (Ghiglieri). This benefits the killers reproductive fitness, as the mothers of killed infants will go into oestrus sooner, allowing the killer to impregnate them w/his own offspring. Among primates, - the killing of rival adult males also documented among mountain gorillas (Fossey) - and chimpanzees (Wrangham). An alternative explanation

the alt. Evolved Goal Hypothesis of murder argues humans evolved motivations for certain GOALS (e.g. strive for status, or acquire a mate) that with our ancestors, associated w/greater reproductive success. Hrdy claims early ancestors calculated costs + benefits Goals could be reached by using + future consequences, of actions, which may conclude evolved problem-solving mechanisms. murder as the best solution to achieve a certain goal. Evaluation of evolutionary explanations of aggression Limitations an evolutionary approach for aggression doesnt explain why people react in diff ways to the same adaptive problem. Buss + Shackelford show diff men react v. differently about wifes infidelity, - e.g. violence (toward other man) - debasement (e.g. granting her every wish to keep her) - or avoiding the issue, by getting drunk. Cultural differences Also, an evolutionary view doesnt explain why some cultures (e.g. in south America) require male violence to attain social status, whereas in others (peaceful !Kung San of Kalahari) aggression damages the aggressors reputation.

sssEvolutionary explanations of group display in humanssss - lynch mobs a group illegally kill a person for a presumed offence.
Self-directed aggression during religious + cultural displays signals commitment in a gp. Adaptive explanations for lynch mobs At least 2805 lynched from 1882 1930 in US southern states by a hate-driven white mob (Tolnay + Beck). Most African-American males. Obscure reasons included demanding respect & being disreputable. Evolutionary explanations for the behaviour of lynch mobs are: the power-threat hypothesis dehumanization of the victim

The power-threat hypothesis Blalock suggests as minority groups grow, majority gps try harder to maintain dominance. Power-threat is a fear of the minoritys POLITICAL power, E.g. Tolnay + Beck found reasons for lynchings included trying to vote & voting wrong party. This fear of Negro power meant White mobs used LYNCH LAW as social control, E.g. after slavery was abolished, when the social transition left the White community feeling at risk. Ridley suggests group displays of discrimination against outsiders are more likely when groups feel at risk. Lynch mobs and dehumanization Hyatt argues that by form unrecognizable as a human.

defiling the Black body in lynching + burnings, the mob reduced it to a

Tolnay suggested PROPOGANDA - reduced Blacks to simplistic animalistic stereotypes to whites, - that dehumanized victims to a worthless hated object.

encouraging lynch mobs actions b/c they were

defending their community from black brutality.

So lynching can be seen as an evolved adaptation to perceived threats.

Lynch mobs & deindividuation

However, Mullen analysed 60 newspaper reports of lynchings + found: As the mob size increased, lynchers became more violent.

Consistent w/deindividuation, the increases in mob size broke down normal self-regulation processes, increasing violence against the victim.

Evaluation of adaptive explanations for lynch mobs

The power-threat hypothesis

Clark studied lynch mob murders in Brazil, evidence contradicted power-threat hypothesis.
Main victim Afro-Brazilians, were NOT SEEN as threats, - political or economic, to the dominant community. Consequently, fear of minority wasnt a causal factor in these ritual murders.

Evidence for dehumanization

In Guatemala, lynch mob violence became common in recent yrs. Rothenberg observes although most cases are for - crimes like murder, - some are for minor offences like stealing chickens. Consistent w/dehumanization, enraged crowds burn corpses, further degrading a dead victim.

making it easier to kill by removing moral constraints on killing humans. By reducing victims to status of animals, killing rivals becomes easier, ultimately beneficial to group members.

Role of deindividuation

Theres support for claim that lynching: may be a group display of extreme discrimination made more likely through deindividuation.

Rothenberg says however, although some lynchings were - at night, (where violence obscured by darkness) -

most occurred in the day.

In some cases only a few angry citizens present, whereas in others there were 1000s. Although some aspects of deindividuation (e.g. large mob size) in the majority of cases, there appears to be no clear relationship between - deindividuating factors - + the ferocity of violence.

sssAdaptive explanations for religious/cultural displays

(describe + evaluate 2 evolutionary reasons for displays of aggressive behaviour)sss

Religious displays and cooperative gains

Irons argues the adaptive advantage of living in groups was benefits each person gained through cooperation e.g. in hunting, food sharing and defence.
In painful rituals like self-flagellation (Ashura), a person signals commitment to a gp. A committed member is likely to be cooperative. So, b/c painful rituals promote cooperation within a gp, natural selection would have favoured their development. COSTLY SIGNALLING to deter free riders The costs (e.g. to physical health) of cultural and religious displays deter - potential free riders wholl exploit gp membership w/o contributing. Zahavi says costly signalling rituals indicate status + breeding potential b/c theyre too costly for low quality individuals to perform. Sosi exemplifies Ultra-Orthodox Jews (Haredim). who overdress in summers. In their - thick beards - long black coats & heavy hats Haredi men spend days sweating as they sing praises to God. Thus, the quality these men signal is their level of commitment to their religious gp. So the adaptive benefit of religious displays appears to be - promoting cooperation within a gp, - while deterring free riders who may exploit the gp. Evaluation of the adaptive explanation of religious/cultural displays Religious displays

Ruffle + Sosis studied Israeli communes and found religious males sig more cooperative w/gp members than females. Perhaps b/c Males do highly visible rituals e.g. public prayer 3 times daily. - They found synagogue attendance positively correlated w/cooperative behaviour in males. And no correlation between s. attendance and cooperation from females, who its OPTIONAL for, so it isnt a sign of commitment to the gp.

These RESULTS AGREE w/COSTLY SIGNALLING THEORY: more displays of commitment positively relate w/higher cooperation within the gp.

Evaluation of the adaptive explanation of religious/cultural displays The evolutionary approach

The adaptive value of religious displays explains the success of some religions. By making membership costly, they - increase intragp solidarity and - deter outsiders from exploiting benefits of membership. However, this view also suggests - a disadvantage is it accentuates intergroup conflict. Sosis claims the big benefit of intragroup solidarity is: - unified gps can defend & compete against other gps. E.g. societies w/stricter religious displays endure more intergroup conflict. (Roes & Raymond). Cultural rituals

Sosis had data from 60 diff societies - on costs of gp rituals - and frequency of warfare. freq. of warfare was the strongest predictor of the costliness of the societys male ritual displays. & displays favoured, depended on the warfare common in the society. In societies where internal warfare was the norm, communities always break up + fuse,warfare was more common (i.e. war against other societies) In societies where extreme so an ally may become an enemy. gps focused on uniting males into the largest combat gp possible. So males are less willing to commit to permanent displays of gp allegiance but instead engage in temporary displays e.g. body painting. commitment For these societies, permanent, costly displays of gp (e.g. scars, tattoos) Sosis results showed a positive correlation between reduce the chance of males escaping to another group. - external warfare - and permanent badges of gp membership, which supports hypothesis that costly male rituals evolved to - signal commitment + - promote solidarity among males who must cooperate in warfare.