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Definition of the Hostile and Instrumental Aggression in Society Essay

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Updated: Nov 4th, 2019

Aggression can be defined as verbal or physical behavior mainly portrayed to hurt or cause harm to others. Aggression includes intentional harm to others that consists of actions such as slapping, kicking, gossips, insults, lying, destroying of property and threats among others. The goal of aggression is to hurt or cause harm to others. According to nature, human beings are the key determinants of human aggression that is why humanity is considered as being threatening to itself.

There are two forms of aggression that are found in the humanity that include hostile and instrumental aggression. Hostile aggression is the one that comes to be because of anger whose goal is to injure while in contrast, instrumental aggression whose aim is to injure but with some means to others end. For instance, terrorism possesses instrumental aggression. According to Kruglanski & Fishman (2006), people use terrorism as a strategic tool during times of conflicts.

There are many theories that explain aggression and its implication in the society for instance, the instinct theory, and evolutionary theory. Instinct theory argues that aggression is not learnt because it is inborn character to all individuals. Evolutionary theory argues that the nature into which aggression is practiced by individuals depend on their level of civilization among the individuals. Frustration aggression theory argues that people use aggression to respond to frustrations they confront in their lives.

Aggression has its own rewards for instance aggressive animal becomes ferocious while aggressive player scores more goals compared to non-aggressive one. People learn to be aggressive by observing others and that is why culture acts as a model for development of aggression. The development of aggression is influenced by things such as media and groups among others in the society (Kruglanski & Fishman 2006).

Attraction and intimacy

In the society, people depend on each other and that is why psychologists believe that human beings need to belong. Many factors play an important role in peoples’ friendships and attractions. Examples of some of these factors include; feeling liked, physical attractiveness, proximity, and similarity. Proximity is a resourceful factor in that it enables people to discover their commonalities hence being able to exchange their rewards.

Through proximity, people can also anticipate interaction for instance a person would be willing to talk to someone whom they would expect to meet. Physical attractiveness is another crucial factor that influences attraction and intimacy. Good look, character, conversation ability, humor, and character are some of things people consider when developing friendship with others. Men would date a beautiful or good-looking woman. However, this is not the case with intelligent people since they are less concerned with such superficial qualities.

According to Murstein (1986), people pair off with others who are as attractive as they are. First impression play key role in peoples’ judgment upon others. Everybody can be attractive if though he or she possesses traits that attract others and that are why in many colleges we have Mr. and miss university. People have different levels of attraction because attractiveness depends on ones’ social comparison (Murstein, 1986).

Conflict and peacemaking

Conflict and peace are two interlinked phenomena in the society for instance when nations are in conflict, their goal is geared toward achieving peace. A nation may decide to preserve its peace by arming itself such that it cannot be raid off by the other and vise versa.

All elements of conflict are considered as being universal to many levels in the society for instance conflict between employers and employees, religious conflicts, conflicts in marriages and between countries in arms race. There is a wide range of factors that creates conflicts in the society for instance social dilemmas that include overpopulation, possession of nuclear arms, natural resource depletion, and global warming among others. Competition is another factor contributing to conflict.

According to Sciolino (2005), hostilities crop up when parties compete for scarce resources such as land, jobs, housing et cetera. When the interest of competing parties or groups clash, conflict erupts. Groups conflict when an incidence of injustice is perceived. There is no group that would want to lack access to some resources due to poor distribution however; this creates conflict as groups struggle to achieve equity. Groups fall victim of conflict when they possess an aspect of misperception of other’s goals and motives.

This is highly witnessed in many nations that are in conflict such Iran and Iraq, America and Afghanistan among others. To avoid conflict, the losers need to admit that they have been defeated while the winners should learn to respect them. When groups are in conflict the end, result is peace since conflict at certain point has to attain consensus. Mediators serve a key role in resolving conflict because they enable the parties in conflict to compromise (Sciolino, 2005).

Social Psychology in the clinic

Clinical psychology involves the participation of personnel such as professional psychologists whose role is to offer therapy services to the patients. They deal with problems related to depression, anxiety, loneliness, physical illness, and well-being. They are concerned with clinical judgment about others.

The accuracy of clinical judgment is influenced by factors such as illusory correlation, hindsight and overconfidence and self-confirming diagnoses among others. Illusory correlation is a situation whereby people work under assumption of the outcome for instance if two people are gay and blue eyed; some people would assume that all gay people have blue eyes which is false. Hindsight and overconfidence happens when an individual commit suicide in presence of people who were able to diagnose the suicidal signs but fail to help.

Self-confirming occurs when patients give answers that fulfil physician expectations. According to Burns (1980), there are many cognitive processes that accompany behavior problems in the society for instance depressed people have negative thoughts compared to normal people.

The best way to treat depression, loneliness and social anxiety is by breaking the vicious circles through training the victims on how to behave more constructively which leads to of reversing their negative thinking into positive thinking. Changes in self-perceptions and self-attributions bring about breaking of the vicious circles among depressed, lonely, and anxious people (Burns,1980).

Social psychology in court

Many judges use eyewitnesses to determine the fate of any offender in the court. The eyewitnesses should not be relied upon because some times it produces results that are biased. Some people end up misidentifying a criminal hence leading to imprisonment of an innocent individual.

That is why the Supreme Court in U.S states that eyewitnesses will only be reliable based on the level of certain demonstrated character by the witness. Some judges are guided by physical attractiveness in making their judgment as demonstrated by juror judgment. Individual Juror is influenced by factors such as juror comprehensions, juror selection, and death –qualified jurors among others. Juries can be affected by a group because it is the size and the type of the group that determines the directions of the jury (Gordijn, 2002).

Social psychology and the sustainable future

There are two social changes that have brought danger into peoples’ lives for instance agricultural and industrial revolution. The emergence of new technologies has influenced peoples’ lives severely on earth. In the U.S, the number of cars is increasing at a blistering pace than human population.

The combustion from cars and other machines leads to pollution hence demonstrating the issue of environmental action discussed in chapter 16. Reducing consumption will be seen as the appropriate approach through which a nation can attain a sustainable future. Materialism and wealth does not determine peoples’ well being as many people might think (Wilson, 2002).

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Definition of the Hostile and Instrumental Aggression in Society." November 4, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/aggression/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Definition of the Hostile and Instrumental Aggression in Society'. 4 November.

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