The relationship between temperature and aggressive behaviour has been explained through two explanations; the Negative Affect Escape (NAE) theory and the Routine Activity (RA) theory. Negative Affect Escape theory Baron and Bell (1976) proposed the Negative Affect Escape theory. This claims that aggression is a direct consequence of high temperatures. According to this model the uncomfortable, hot temperature increases aggressive behaviour because it provides a way of reducing the negative affect.
However, if the temperature becomes very intense, then there is often less aggressive behaviour as people try to escape or simply become unreceptive. Baron and Bell (1976) supported their theory by studying the effects of heat on aggression. They did this by seeing how willing participants were to give electric shocks to other people (confederate). Their findings showed that temperatures between 92-95F generally increased the level of aggression. However, in extreme heat the aggression lowered towards the person who gave negative evaluations.
This shows that the participants were very stressed clearly not wanting to add to their already high stress levels by shocking the individual. Research Studies Baron and Ransberger (1978) conducted a field study which supports Baron and Bell’s Negative Escape theory. They showed that incidences of violence could be related to high temperatures. They collected data on incidents of group violence in the US. They found that the number of riots in the US increased up to a temperature of 85C and declined after that. This confirms that temperature can act as a stressor leading to the response of aggression.
However, this is challenged by Anderson and Anderson (1984) who re-examined data from a number of field studies in the US and found that there was a linear relationship between heat and violent crime i. e. there was no decline in aggression at very high temperatures. Evaluation Baron and Bell’s study found a curvilinear effect between temperature and aggression, which is predicted by the Negative Affect Escape theory. However the study lacks ecological validity therefore, the experiment may not measure the effect temperature has on real life aggression.
Routine Activity theory Cohen and Felson (1979) suggested that the relationship between temperature and aggression was due to an indirect link i. e. explains aggression in terms of a third intervening variable. They put forward the Routine Activity theory which states that the opportunities for interpersonal aggression increase during the summer as people are more likely to be outside, therefore having increased contact with others. Also, people are more likely to increase their alcohol consumption in hot weather which may further compound this.
Thus, suggesting that high temperatures alone may not be responsible for the rise in aggressive behaviour. Research studies This is supported by Moghaddam (1998) who studied American crime statistics, which illustrated that murder rates showed two peak periods (late summer and around Christmas) when people are more likely to be socially active. Further evidence supporting this view has been conducted by Anderson (1987) who studied the hypothesized relationship between uncomfortably hot temperatures and aggressive behaviour.
He examined archival data which showed the rates of murder, rape, assault, robbery, burglary and theft. He found that the most violent crimes (murder, rape, assault) were more common in the hotter months and years. Furthermore, he found that non-violent crime (robbery, burglary, theft) statistics did not follow the same trends. However, this theory is challenged by Baron and Bell (1976) who argued that the theory cannot explain experimental research that has shown that direct temperature itself causes aggression. Evaluation
The theory has further inconsistencies. It only provides us with evidence of correlation, not a causal relationship and the studies which support the theory are only observational, therefore many variables cannot be controlled such as noise or overcrowding which may have been additional factors that led to the aggressive behaviour in hot summer months. Moreover, the theory ignores physiological factors. Anderson and Anderson (1998) provided evidence that when you get hot, the production of testosterone increases (which is linked to aggression).
This suggests that biological factors need to be taken into consideration when studying the link between temperature and aggressive behaviour. Crowding The relationship between crowding and aggression has been described as the psychological feeling of not having enough space, diminishing our sense of control. This produces discomfort, which then may lead to aggressive behaviour. Research Studies Calhoun (1962) studied the effects of aggression on crowding. He carried out a study in which he placed an expanding rat population in a small area. He found that as the rat density increased the rats became more aggressive.
The level of aggression finally became so high that they soon set about killing, sexually assaulting and cannibalizing one another. This presumably occurred as a result of overcrowding. However, the study has been criticised as it suffers from extrapolatatian validity. It may not be always be appropriate to generalise from animal studies to humans. Moreover, it has been criticised as being ethically wrong to inflict harm on suffering animals. On the other hand, the study is supported by Horn (1994) who stated that if an increase of social density (no. of people in a space) is seen as undesirable, the outcomes for an individual tend to be negative.
Macintyre and Homel (1997) studied the effects of crowding in nightclubs. He studied 6 Australian nightclubs and found that more aggressive incidents were observed in the more crowded venues. This was even the case when other factors were taken into account, such as drunkenness. This suggests that higher densities of people can be unpleasant and lead to aggressive behaviour. But, the study has been criticised by as it ignores individual differences.
This was pointed out by Stokois et al (1973) who found that increased density was related to increased levels of aggression in males but not females. However, a positive criticism is that the study has high ecological validity because the method used to conduct the study was a field experiment. Milgram (1970) has shown that living in cities is considerably more stressful than living in more rural surroundings, and more likely to produce aggressive behaviour in individuals. This is supported by Schmitt (1967) who found that as the density of the population in the city Honolulu increased, so did the rate of crime, death and mental disorder.
Both these studies support the view that crowding is related to increases in aggression, as urban environments have higher levels of social density, but they also have higher levels of noise and inconvenience. Yet, Freedman (1975) argued that when social factors such as economic level, educational level and ethnicity are taken into account, the relationship between crowding and crime disappears. Evaluation It seems clear that crowding is related to aggression, but the relationship is complex because the effects of crowding vary with social context e. g.
a crowded party may produce different affects from a crowded shopping centre. This is related to Deindividuation as being in a crowd can lead to a loss of personal identity and increase aggressive tendencies, but it may also intensify a crowd’s positive mood. Noise Noise levels may also act as a stressor and may lead to arousal and frustration. The relationship between noise and aggression has been explained by noise alone not being seen as being sufficient in aggression, but in combination with pre-existing anger noise may act as a cue and trigger aggression. Research Studies
Evans et al (1998) studied the effect of exposure to aircraft noise by looking at 7-8 year old children in rural areas before and after the opening of a new airport. Half of the children lived under a flight path whereas the others lived in quiet areas. The findings showed that those living in the noise group experienced significant increases in blood pressure and stress hormones. This implies that these may lead to higher levels of aggressive behaviour. In contrast, those in the quiet group experienced no significant changes. This suggests noise may lead to aggressive behaviour.
However, this study is criticised in terms of reliability because it shows an indirect link between noise and aggression. Therefore it is possible that the planes woke the children up and tiredness rather than noise would make them aggressive. This is supported by Bronzaft (1997) who found that people living near airports frequently complained of sleeplessness. Geen and O’Neal (1969) studied the effects of noise on aggression. They showed participants either an aggressive or non-aggressive film. They were then give the opportunity to deliver shocks to someone in another room, during which they were exposed to loud noise or no noise
They found that participants were more likely to shock others when they were in a noisy room, but only when they had seen the aggressive film. However, this study has been criticised due to its high demand characteristics because they may have been able to work out that the film was a cue for how they were to later behave. Evaluation Support for the belief that noise is just a cue comes from experiments such as that of Geen and O’Neal (1969); noise and no prior cue to aggression did not results in aggression.
However, evidence that noise acts like any other stressor challenges this view. This is suggested as this explains that noise increases the activity of the Autonomic nervous system such as the heart rate, and hormone levels (e. g. testosterone, Bronzaft) Overall Evaluation Theories and evidence which show that environmental features can provoke aggressive behaviour are linked with the Frustration-aggression hypothesis. The Frustration-aggression hypothesis states that environmental stressors may lead to frustration which increases the tendency for aggressive behaviour.
This confirms the link that features of the environment can provoke aggressive behaviours. Moreover, all the environmental stressors mentioned can be explained by the same factors. For example, they can all lead to Negative Affect and a desire to escape (NAE theory), they all can be physiologically arousing and they may all lead to Deindividuation. b) Altruism and Bystander behaviour Altruism Use for Outline and evaluate two explanations of human altruism (12 marks) Outline and evaluate one or more explanations of human altruism and/or bystander behaviour (12 marks)
Altruism is an example of pro-social behaviour and can be defined as ‘voluntary helping behaviour that is costly to the person who is altruistic’. It is based on the desire to help someone else rather than gaining any possible rewards. It has often been assumed that altruism depends on empathy, which is the ability to share the emotions of another person and to understand that person’s point of view. The Empathy-Altruism Model Bateson (1991) proposed the empathy-altruism model which explains altruistic behaviour as a consequence of empathy with someone in need.
As a result, witnessing another person in distress creates empathetic concern for them, motivating us to help them. A further claim of Bateson’s empathy-altruism model is that meeting some in need will lead only lead to empathetic concern if the perspective of the other person is taken in i. e. imaging how they feel rather than how we feel. Help is then given for altruistic reasons i. e. to decrease that person’s distress. If the other person’s perspective is not taken in, empathetic concern doesn’t happen and instead we experience personal distress (concern with ones own discomfort, plus the motivation to reduce it e.
g. guilt). If we act because of personal distress, rather than empathetic concern, our motives are egoistic (selfish) and not truly altruistic. Evidence that supports the empathy-altruism model The basic assumption of the empathy-altruism model that altruistic behaviour depends on empathy is supported by most of the evidence obtained by Bateson and his colleagues. Bateson et al (1981) asked female participants to take the place of ‘Elaine’, a confederate, who was receiving electric shocks.
The findings showed that participants who were led to believe that a placebo drug they took led to empathetic concern offered to take the shocks even when they were given the opportunity to leave. Whereas those who had been led to believe they would feel personal distress took the opportunity to leave. In contrast, most of those who felt personal distress offered to take shocks when escape was difficult. Thus, those feeling personal distress were motivated to help by fear of social disapproval if they did not help, rather than by any real desire to help Elaine.
This fits in with his empathy-altruism model which predicts that people with empathetic concern are more likely to help others even when they are in a position to escape from this responsibility, whereas those in personal distress will choose to escape if the ‘cost’ of escaping is low However, Bateson’s study has been criticized as it has been suggested that the female participants may have seen through the deception, guessed that the experimenter was investigating helpfulness and thus behaved in a more social desirable manner. Therefore, the study may suffer from demand characteristics.
Also, the study is restricted to short term altruistic behaviour, which can be contrasted with real-life in which altruistic behaviour can involve proving almost non-stop care for an ageing relative for many years. It is therefore not clear whether the same processes are involved in the two cases. Criticisms of the empathy-altruism model One limitation of the empathy-altruism hypothesis is that it is hard to be sure that people are offering help for altruistic reasons rather than simply to avoid the disapproval of others or to avoid the feelings of guilt associated with failing to help.
Negative-state Relief Model Cialdini et al (1987) put forward the negative-state relief model to explain why empathy leads helping behaviour. According to this model, a person who experiences empathy for a victim usually feels sad as a result. They help the victim because they want to reduce their own sadness. Thus, empathetic concern should not lead to helping behaviour if steps are taken to remove the sadness that is usually found with empathy. The model also includes the notion that helping is most probable when the rewards for helping are high and the costs are low.
This, people in an unpleasant are more likely to help than those in a neutral mood when helping is easy and very rewarding (e. g. it reduces the unpleasant mood). Evidence that supports the Negative-state Relief Model Cialdini et al (1973) conducted research which supports the negative-state relief model. They tested the assumption that a negative mood would be improved by either engaging in pro-social behaviour or receiving rewards. The researchers found that, following a transgression (misbehavior) (which produced feelings of guilt), participants were more likely to engage in pro-social acts.