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What is social psychology - Essay Example

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Social learning theory emerged as the most comprehensive theory for explaining behavior, especially aggressive and criminally violent behavior. The theory is applicable in all diversifications of psychology when it comes to behavior. Social psychology deals usually with the role that social life plays upon human reactions. There are three basic types of responses or reactions in human societal behavior when exposed to something that opposes their comfort, i.e. aggressiveness, compliance and avoidance. Each one of these reactions are in response to the person's perception of the self with the world. When there was once upon a time a simple definition to psychology in terms of stimuli and reaction, today it is accepted that psychology or rather social psychology is a process rather than a theory.This is a process of constant learning and change. There is an added dimension to the fact that an abstract angle has entered into the definition. Social psychology also involves anticipation, based on the interpretation that the self brings to the events that happen in the world around its person. That interpretation may be right or wrong - the definitions of right and wrong themselves being relative. It should be rather termed as real on unreal. Depending upon the amount of distortion of the events themselves the person will respond with a type of adaptation. It has to respond in some way because human are living organisms and need to constantly interact with their environment. That adaptation response again depends upon a number of external and internal factors such as biological or as it is termed today genetical, ethological and comparative. In other words adaptation can also be termed as learning; meaning that interpretation of the facts totally impacts the outcome of the human behavior; the outcome always being connected to the actual meaning of the environment and self. The study of this behavior and resulting experience is termed as social psychology.

As mentioned above there are three types of responses to the external environment, aggressiveness compliance and avoidance. This article will look into the aspects that define aggressiveness.

What is aggression
Human aggression is any behavior directed toward another individual that is carried out with the proximate (immediate) intent to cause harm. In addition, the perpetrator must believe that the behavior will harm the target, and that the target is motivated to avoid the behavior (Anderson and Bushman, 2002).
It is important here to understand the difference between aggression and harm. Aggression is an intended action meaning to harm, while harm is actually what happens as a result of aggression. Harm can also happen by accident when it was not intended, and it was not planned. In other words, aggression can be termed as forcefully imposing one's behavior on another upon finding some amount of resistance in providing the result the aggressor expects. Aggression develops into violence when, it "..has extreme harm as its goal (e.g. death)." (Anderson and Bushman, 2002). The terms aggression and violence are not interchangeable even though they are more or less indicating direct and willed harm. "All violence is aggression" says Anderson and Bushman (2002), "but many instances of aggression are not violent." Like wife beating or rape is violent, while berating wife or molestation are aggression.

Aggression or expression of aggression is also not always negative or taken as negative by the society at large. For example wife-beating in the civilized world is definitely considered as aggression, labeled as criminal and punishable under the purview of the law. However, in may primitive African and Asian countries it is the prerogative of the husband to see that his wife "behaves" and he is appreciated by the society that he is able to be "a man". Aggression as per the definition is more described as physical and primitive behavior. Words associated with aggression would be brutal, cavemanship, cruel, primitive and so on. The modern world has added new terms to the aggression terms once known, i.e. lawsuits, computer warfare, and so on which have as devastating effects but maybe not as bloody, as ...Show more
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Social learning theory emerged as the most comprehensive theory for explaining behavior, especially aggressive and criminally violent behavior. The theory is applicable in all diversifications of psychology when it comes to behavior. …
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What is social psychology
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