Discuss Institutional Aggression Essay

496 WordsMar 22, 20142 Pages
Institutional aggression can be defined as aggressive behaviour that occurs within an institution and is motivated by social forces rather than anger or frustration. Institutions can include prisons, military and the police. Two forces are examined when looking for explanations of institutional aggression, they are situational forces and dispositional forces. Situational forces looks at how the environment affects or shapes a person’s behaviour. It goes by the idea that there is no such thing as a bad person, it is the bad situation a person is placed in which can affect their behaviour. Situational factors that may lead to institutional aggression include status and power, revenge and retaliation, and deindividuation and helplessness. Dispositional causes are the opposite of situational causes, it claims that institutional aggression is due to the individuals themselves and not the situation they are in. So if a person carries out aggressive acts, according to dispositional causes, it is in their nature to do so. A supporting study for situational forces is Zimbardo’s prison experiment. The aim of the experiment was to see what happens to a person if you put them in a negative environment. They found that people will readily conform to the roles they are expected to play, in this case, the guards and prisoners settled into their new roles within a very short time, this relates to deindividuation. The participants were anonymous, as their identities were hidden through the uniforms, this gave them a better opportunity to fit the roles they were given. As Zimbardo’s experiment was a laboratory experiment, it fit the criteria of psychology as a science, which means that ideally the experiment can be replicated and similar results would be found, however, due to individual differences, if this was carried out on a different group of people, these results
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