Sex and Psychology - Aggression


See also: Aggression#Gender, Aggression#Testosterone, and Gender and crime

Although research on sex differences in aggression show that males are generally more likely to display aggression than females, how much of this is due to social factors and gender expectations is unclear. Aggression is closely linked with cultural definitions of "masculine" and "feminine." In some situations women show equal or more aggression than men; for example, women are more likely to use direct aggression in private, where other people cannot see them, and are more likely to use indirect aggression in public. Eagly and Steffen suggested in their meta-analysis of data on sex and aggression that beliefs about the negative consequences of violating gender expectations affect how both genders behave regarding aggression. Men are more likely to be the targets of displays of aggression and provocation than females. Studies by Bettencourt and Miller show that when provocation is controlled for, sex differences in aggression are greatly reduced. They argue that this shows that gender-role norms play a large part in the differences in aggressive behavior between men and women. Psychologist Anne Campbell argues that females are more likely to use indirect aggression, and that "cultural interpretations have 'enhanced' evolutionarily based sex differences by a process of imposition which stigmatises the expression of aggression by females and causes women to offer exculpatory (rather than justificatory) accounts of their own aggression."

The relationship between testosterone and aggression is unclear, and a causal link has not been conclusively shown. Some studies indicate that testosterone levels may be affected by environmental and social influences. The relationship is difficult to study since the only reliable measure of brain testosterone is from a lumbar puncture which is not done for research purposes and many studies have instead used less reliable measures such as blood testosterone. In humans, males engage in crime and especially violent crime more than females. The involvement in crime usually rises in the early teens to mid teens which happen at the same time as testosterone levels rise. Most studies support a link between adult criminality and testosterone although the relationship is modest if examined separately for each sex. However, nearly all studies of juvenile delinquency and testosterone are not significant. Most studies have also found testosterone to be associated with behaviors or personality traits linked with criminality such as antisocial behavior and alcoholism.

In species that have high levels of male physical competition and aggression over females, males tend to be larger and stronger than females. Humans have modest general body sexual dimorphism on characteristics such as height and body mass. However, this may understate the sexual dimorphism regarding characteristics related to aggression since females have large fat stores. The sex differences are greater for muscle mass and especially for upper body muscle mass. Men's skeleton, especially in the vulnerable face, is more robust. Another possible explanation, instead of intra-species aggression, for this sexual dimorphism may be that it is an adaption for a sexual division of labor with males doing the hunting. However, the hunting theory may have difficulty explaining differences regarding features such as stronger protective skeleton, beards (not helpful in hunting but they increase the perceived size of the jaws and perceived dominance which may helpful in intra-species male competition), and greater male ability at interception (greater targeting ability can be explained by hunting).

There are evolutionary theories regarding male aggression in specific areas such as sociobiological theories of rape and theories regarding the high degree of abuse against stepchildren (the Cinderella effect).

Read more about this topic:  Sex And Psychology

Other articles related to "aggression":

Aggression In Healthcare
... Patient-on-professional aggression commonly involves direct verbal abuse, although deliberate and severe physical violence has been documented ... Staff-on-staff aggression may be passive, such as a failure to return a telephone call from a disliked colleague, or indirect, such as engaging in backbiting and gossip ... Aggression was, in 1968, described by Moyer as "a behaviour that causes or leads to harm, damage or destruction of another organism" (Weinshenker and Siegel 2002) ...
Aggression In Healthcare - Coping
... When dealing with aggression and violence in the workplace, training and education are the primary strategy for resolution (Beech and Leather 2006) ... There are a number or personal factors that can help reduce aggression within the healthcare setting, which include improved interpersonal skills, with an awareness of ... and Leather 2006) Theory To understand the aggression within the workplace Prevention To assess the danger and take precautions Interaction With aggressive individuals Post-Incident Action To report ...
Aggression - In Humans - As A Positive Adaptation Theory
... recent scholarship has questioned traditional psychological conceptualizations of aggression as universally negative ... Most traditional psychological definitions of aggression focus on the harm to the recipient of the aggression, implying this is the intent of the aggressor however this may not always be the case ... Such scholars contend that traditional definitions of aggression have no validity ...
Anne Campbell (academic) - Published Works - Journal Articles
... alive Evolution, culture, and women's intrasexual aggression" ... "Sex differences in direct aggression What are the psychological mediators?" ... Aggression and Violent Behavior 11 (3) 237 ...
Captive Killer Whales - Issues With Captivity - Aggression Between Captive Orcas
... One infamous incident of killer whale aggression took place in August 1989, when the dominant female Icelandic orca at SeaWorld San Diego, Kandu V, attempted to "rake" a ... The aggression became increasingly serious, leading to an incident in which Kotar bit a part of Kanduke's genitals and caused an infection ... It is not known if such serious aggression and injury would occur in the open seas ...

Famous quotes containing the word aggression:

    Our security depends on the Allied Powers winning against aggressors. The Axis Powers intend to destroy democracy, it is anathema to them. We cannot provide that aid if the public are against it; therefore, it is our responsibility to persuade the public that aid to the victims of aggression is aid to American security. I expect the members of my administration to take every opportunity to speak to this issue wherever they are invited to address public forums in the weeks ahead.
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882–1945)

    Every day, in this mostly male world, you have to figure out, “Do I get this by charming somebody? By being strong? Or by totally allowing my aggression out?” You’ve got to risk failure. The minute you want to keep power—you’ve become subservient, somebody who does work you don’t believe in.
    Paula Weinstein (b. 1945)

    Cinema is the culmination of the obsessive, mechanistic male drive in western culture. The movie projector is an Apollonian straightshooter, demonstrating the link between aggression and art. Every pictorial framing is a ritual limitation, a barred precinct.
    Camille Paglia (b. 1947)