Aggression in Sport essay
Introduction: Aggression in sport has always been a major issue.Whether it be insults thrown around a school yard playground during a game of football.To hateful attacks on other players, be it physical or verbal, in the premier division of any sport.
It can be a problem for the individual who is acting aggressive, such as a disciplinary action or the recipient of the aggression, for example they could suffer injury as result.
This can have a larger effect. Sporting teams can lose key players due to injury, because of an aggressive action or to disciplinary action, such as an athlete being sidelined for a number of weeks because of their aggressive behaviour. This can also cause problems for the sport’s governing body as a whole, and for these reasons, action must be taken to reduce athlete aggression in sport.
Even the International Society of Sport Psychology recently recognized that sport aggression has become a social problem both on and off the playing field and has recommended ways to curtail this behaviour (Tenenbaum, Stewart, Singer, & Duda, 1997) In this information sheet I will describe the different forms of aggression and how it can be dealt with. Definitions Of aggression: A forceful behaviour, action, or attitude that is expressed physically, verbally, or symbolically. It may arise from innate drives or occur as a defence mechanism, often resulting from a threatened ego.
It is manifested by either constructive or destructive acts directed toward oneself or against others. (Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, 8th edition. © 2009, Elsevier) ‘Aggression is any behaviour that is intended to harm another individual by physical or verbal Means. ’ (Bull, 1990) ‘Aggression is any form of behaviour directed toward the goal of harming or injuring another living being who is motivated to avoid such treatment. ’ (Baron, 1994) ‘Aggression is an intentional physically or psychologically harmful behaviour that is directed at another living organism. (Thirer, 1993) Sporting definition of aggression: Used by the athlete to channel their will to win at all odds and determination to sacrifice their own or their opponents, bodies in the cause of victory. Gills criteria for aggressive behaviour: Are 4 main factors which describe aggressive behaviour which were identified by Gill in 1980; there are as follows: * It is a form of behaviour: aggression can be either physical or verbal. * It involves causing harm or injury: Aggression is designed to cause either psychological or physiological harm. The injury or harm is directed towards another human being: Aggression is directed towards either another human or animal. * Aggression is always done with purpose: If a seemingly aggressive act is genially done by accident it cannot be classed as aggression. Types of aggressive behaviour: Aggression cannot always be characterized as the same. A defender in football can perform aggressive tackles without breaking the rules of the game, and not all athletes have the same motive and expected outcome for their aggression. There are three main times of aggression which can characterize an athlete’s sporting performance.
Hostile aggression: The prime motive of hostile aggression is to harm an opponent, where the chief aim of the aggressor is to inflict injury. Hostile aggression the desired outcome of the aggressor is to harm another player, for personal reasons. For example if in hockey a player can go in for a very aggressive challenge, but if his aim is to get the ball then it is not hostile aggression. If the player goes in for an aggressive challenge where his aim is to not only get the ball but to harm the player then it is hostile aggression. The act of aggression usually stems from an incident which occurred earlier in the game.
Take the hockey example again, Say the aggressor had the ball and was dribbling it towards the goal and another player, who is already on a green car, trips him with his stick in the circle, and the umpire doesn’t give a foul or a penalty. The player may feel that justice may not have been done; the other player should have been given a yellow card and sent off for 5 minutes, and his team should have been awarded a penalty. Therefore the player may wish to take the law into his own hands. Say the same player who committed the fowl has the ball.
The aggressor, still angry from the earlier incident, may go in for a aggressive tackle with the purpose of causing the player intentional harm. For example he could lift his elbow to hit the player in the face. This can have two outcomes; the player may get hurt, making the aggressor feel like justice has been done. However, the umpire can call the player up on this and depending on the severity award him a green, yellow or red card. This cause the player to believe justice still has not been done, as he has been punished for a similar fowl that the other player got away with.
This may cause further anger the player and may lead him to cause more aggressive incidents. B-tec national sport and exercise sciences, Mark Adams, Heinemann, 2007 Beckham’s red card. http://www. worldcupblog. org/world-cup-moments/world-cup-moments-david-beckhams-red-card-vs-argentina-in-1998. html Aggressive actions violate the rules of any game and such indiscretions are dysfunctional in the context of sport. Often an aggressive player will disrupt the team’s performance and spoil the cohesion of the group. A high profile example of this was David Beckham’s sending of in England vs.
Argentina in the 1998 world cup in France. On the 30th of June 1998, The English national football team were playing Argentina in the quarter finals of the world cup. David Beckham made himself a hero in the previous game, scouring a spectacular free kick winner against Columbia. Almost strait after kickoff Diego Simeone was “tripped” in the penalty box and a controversial penalty was given which Gabriel Batistuta netted to make it 1-0. After the half time break the score was level at 2-2.Diego Simeone made a deliberately clumsy challenge on David Beckham, brining him to the floor.
Though many thought Simeone should be sent off for such a blatantly harmful challenge, The referee, Kim Milton Nielson awarded Simeone a yellow card. Possibly feeling angered over the arguable “Dive” in the penalty box, and then the rough challenge with Simeone only being given a yellow card, Beckham took the law into his own hands. He gently kicked Simeone on the calf. Though Simeone went down rather theatrically to such a weak kick, Beckham had still broken the laws of the game and was sent off. This had a negative effect on the team.
With out Beckham to put together passes in the midfield, England had trouble getting the ball up the field. When the game went to penalties and Beckham wasn’t avalibul to take one (he had a reputation for scouring penalty kicks) England lost. http://sports. jrank. org/pages/351/Beckham-David-1998-World-Cup-Fiasco. html This is an interesting case as there were many factors which caused his aggression. There was a lot of pressure on him and his ego would have been on a high after his fantastic performance against Columbia. He didn’t perform particularly well throughout the game which would have caused him to become frustrated.
Dollard et al (1939) said in his Frustration – aggression Theory “that aggression is always caused by some form of frustration” and “that people are motivated to reach goals, but if these goals are blocked then frustration occurs. ” Therefore, his frustration may have leaded him to act aggressively. Also the Disputed dive by someone in the first half may also have increased his frustration. Berkowitz (1965) proposed in his revised frustration-aggression theory that any negative thoughts, not just frustration, can bring on aggressive behaviour, one of those negative thoughts being threat.
When Simeone brought Beckham down with his rough tackle from behind, would have felt threatened. He hadn’t been playing as well as what was expected of him and was then brought down in an embarrassing challenge. Beckham may have felt that the yellow card wasn’t enough and decided to take out his aggression with the purposeful kick to the calf. This would have fulfilled his own sense of justice, however, the kick was seen and the red card was awarded. This was defiantly hostile aggression His sending of affected the team badly and contributed to the eventual defeat. ttp://www. bbc. co. uk/dna/h2g2/A47629317 Threats to self-esteem may lead people to act aggressively without thinking about the consequences. Hostile aggression can involve immediate reactions in blind fury, or carefully planned and deliberate acts. The Beckham incident was a blind fury reaction where the previous hockey scenario was planned. http://www. psypress. co. uk/smithandmackie/resources/topic. asp? topic=ch13-tp-02 #What Triggers Aggression Instrumental aggression: El-hadji Diouf (centre) after shove on mark Schwarzer (floor) http://www. dailytelegraph. om. au/sport/soccer/schwarzer-caught-in-the-crossfire/story-e6frey4r-1225926429183 Instrumental aggression is when somebody displays aggressive behaviour, in pursuit of a non-aggressive goal. Where an athlete acts in an aggressive way, not to harm the recipient as in hostile aggression, but so they can achieve a goal such as winning an athletic competition. Instrumental aggression is not the result of anger and seeking revenge. It is an aggression type that mainly serves one’s own interest in an individual sport or the interests of the team in team sports.
A real life example occurred on the Saturday, 18 September 2010 in a football match between Blackburn rovers and Fulham F. C. The Blackburn goal keeper Paul Robinson sent forward a long free-kick which Fulham keeper mark Schwarzer came to collect. However winger, El-hadji Diouf, intentionally ran into Schwarzer, knocking him to the ground. This allowed Blackburn striker Chris samba to easily head the ball into the empty net. This is a perfect example of instrumental aggression. Diouf made an aggressive attack on schwarzer, not with the aim of harming him, but so samba could score, giving Blackburn the lead. ttp://news. bbc. co. uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_prem/9000608. stm Luis Suarez’s handball. http://www. thisislondon. co. uk/standard-sport/worldcup/article-23852532-full-of-praise-for-luis-suarezs-handywork. do Apter (1993) has pointed out there are often a set of unofficial rules, as well as the official rules, governing what aggressive behaviours are acceptable. For example there have been many occasions in football where a player has been on a clean run to goal, only to be illegally pulled back or tackled by another player.
This is instrumental aggression as there is a non- aggressive goal, It against the rules of the game and punishable with a red card, but is considered normal. A high profile example would be the case of Luis suarez in the 2010 world cup. On Friday the 2nd of July 2010, The Uruguay national football team were playing Ghana in a world cup quarter final match. The game went in the second half of extra time Ghana took a corner which Adeyah headed towards goal. Luis Suarez a out field player then extended his arm and blocked the ball with his hand.
Ghana were awarded a penalty and Suarez a red card and a sending off. However when Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan missed the penalty and Uruguay won the game Suarez was hailed as a hero by most South American football fans. After the game Suarez said “”There was no alternative but for me to do that and when they missed the penalty I thought ‘It is a miracle and we are alive in the tournament’,”. Fans throughout Africa however, despised Suarez for this. This example can be used to support Apter’s claim. Though against the rules fans all over South America believed Suarez’s actions were acceptable.
He knew the risks and was punished, but still this act of instrumental aggression cause Uruguay to progress. This is has come to be known as sanctioned aggression, that is instrumental aggression where that whilst not within the official rules is still accepted as normal, even though it would be punished. Husman and Silva (1984) however, argued that sanctioned act of aggression have been mislabelled as aggressive and should be called assertive. As there is no real intent to harm an opposing player. http://news. bbc. co. uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2010/8785140. tm An example of unsanctioned aggression would be in the World Cup semi-final of 1982 between France and West Germany. Patrick Battiston was chasing a bouncing through ball as Germany keeper, Harold Schumacher came charging out of his goal. Battiston reached the ball first but Schumacher leapt up and smashed into him, knocking him unconscious. He eventually recovered but he lost several teeth and at one point fell into a coma. This is unsanctioned aggression. Though Schumacher’s aim was to prevent a goal and not to hurt Battiston, the challenge was acknowledged as extremely dangerous and thus unsanctioned
Hostile aggression Vs Instrumental aggression A case where it becomes difficult to identify the difference between Hostile and instrumental aggression is in the case of combat sports, as the whole aim of the sport is to cause some degree of harm. In boxing one may become frustrated and aggressively hit the opposing boxer harder and eventually knock him out. This is instrumental aggression as you have to harm your opponent in some way to win, but this is often done with the view of winning, not causing your opponent harm.
The boxer may throw a few “rabbit” punches ( a hit to the back of the head) or hit with his elbow. This would be sanctioned instrumental aggression. A minor breach of the rules stemming from the boxers desire to win. Unsanctioned instrumental aggression can be hard to differentiate from hostile aggression in this scenario. However I believe it is possible take these two examples: Two boxers are in round 9 of a match and one of them can’t seem to wear his opponent down. He is losing on points and needs to harm the other boxer.
When the two next lock arms and he believes he is out of the view of the referee he quickly hits the other boxer in the groin with his knee. This is unsanctioned instrumental aggression. The boxers aim was to harm the other boxer, but only so he could win. A blow to the groin can cause shortness of breath and intense pain. A groin hit, unlike rabbit punches is a serious fowl, and can result in instant disqualification. Mike Tyson Vs Evander Holyfeild http://www. 411mania. com/boxing/columns/132418 A famous hostile aggressive act occurred in June 28, 1997, in a boxing match between mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield.
In the previous Tyson-Holyfield fight, seven months earlier, Holyfield, who opened as a 25-to-1 underdog), floored Tyson for the second time in Tyson’s career in the sixth round, and scored a TKO over Tyson in round 11. Holyfield dominated Tyson throughout the fight, winning almost every round. Baumeister (1996) specified a model in which egotism, in response to ego threat, leads to aggression. Mike Tysons first loss to Holyfield was only the second in his career and first loss in 7 years. This leads me to believe Tysons ego was inflated and then threatened after the first loss.
This would have caused genuine feelings of hate for Holyfield. Holyfield won the first two rounds of the fight which must have further frustrated Tyson. Then 00:40 minutes to the end of the first round Tyson caught Holyfield in a clinch and bit off a piece of Holyfield’s ear and spat it on the ring floor, he then pushed Holyfield as he walked back to his corner. The fight resumed with a two point deduction from Tyson. In his rage he bit Holyfield again on the opposite ear. The referee disqualified Tyson.
In reaction Tyson went on rampage at Holyfield and Holyfield’s trainer Brooks while they were still in their corner. Tyson took swings at the people in his way, but was taken back to his corner by security. This is hostile aggression at its worse. Tyson bit Holyfield’s ears to cause genuine harm stemming from his frustration and threatened ego. The post-match rampage was another example of hostile aggression as the only thought in Tysons head must have been to cause harm. Smith (1983) argued, however, that all aggressive acts in sport are instrumental and carried out with some end in mind.
Smith, therefore, concludes that the distinction between instrumental and hostile aggression is not a useful and it is difficult to separate empirically where a particular aggressive act may have a variety of different outcomes. Therefore, both aggressive acts are the same. In contrast to smiths argument Husman and Silva (1984), and Martens (1975) argue that although both hostile and instrumental aggression include intent to injure, the relatively common incidents of angry retaliation which occur as the result of provocation in team contact sports can be seen as hostile aggression.
The so called professional foul which occurs especially in soccer where a player is tackled and usually brought down to prevent him from scoring can be seen as an ac of instrumental aggression. Rethinking aggression and violence in sport, John H Kerr, Routledge, 2005 Assertion: Aggression http://blog. incomeaccess. com/6322/2010/07/12/world-cup-fallout-dutch-captain-retiresas-does-paul-the-psychic-octopus/ggression Assertion is the third main type of aggression, however, Assertive behaviour does not attempt to harm and is strictly within the rules and spirit of the game.
Assertive behaviour shows when an athlete becomes more energetic, robust and forcefully with every movement they make. They may also raise their voice and speak in a more forceful manor to team mates and opposition, but the difference between hostile and instrumental aggression is that there is no intention to harm your opponent and break the rules. Bredemeier (1994) and Silva (1978) said “Assertiveness is distinct from aggressiveness in that it is the nonhostile, noncoercive tendency to behave with intense and energetic behaviour to accomplish one’s goal”. Assertion was described y Parens (1987) as nonhostile self-protective mastery behaviour. A prime example of an assertive athlete is English footballer Rio Ferdinand. Rio has a low red card and yellow card count, yet is still known for his tough tackling defensive style. He is also very vocal on the pitch, he is known for barking orders to his defensive team mates and often voicing his opinion on referee decisions. Despite this he has a low red and yellow card count because he doesn’t break any rules. A sliding tackle for example is illegal if you don’t get the ball first and instead get the opposing player.
The opposing player may get hurt, but as long as the player got the ball first and the defender had no intention what-so-ever to harm the other player it cannot be classed as aggression. If the defender performed an illegal two-footed challenge and hit the opposing player’s leg, it is aggression. Psychology and sport, Sally Gadsdon, Heinemann, 2001 Assertion http://www. bbc. co. uk/french/highlights/story/2008/05/080521_champsleague_pix. shtml Another example of assertion would be in Boxing. During a match a boxer will try to physically harm another boxer through jabs and other punching techniques.
This however, is required in the sport and is therefore assertion rather than aggression. If however, said boxer hit his opponent with his elbow after failing to land a punch, or occasionally throwing a rabbit punch to gain an advantage it becomes instrumental aggression. Bakker et al (1990) found that aggression increased when a team is losing, particularly in a game of great importance. The Beckham- Simone incident discussed earlier in this report is an example of this. It was the world cup quarter-final and tensions were high. Another example is that of the 2010 world cup final between the eventual winners Spain and Holland.
Though they were not losing, Holland were unable to make significant breaks. Spain had 57% of the possession and there fast passing strategy caused problems for the defence. Holland played aggressively and committed 28 fouls, receiving 8 yellow cards and 1 second yellow; meaning a red card was given to John Hetitinga. Arjen Robben showed significant signs of aggression, throwing the match ball away from play when a offside went against him. He had previously had 2 clean runs, but the Spanish keeper Iker Casillas, which must have frustrated him. This compared to Holland’s last 16 games against the lesser
Slovakia when only 2 yellow cards were awarded, support Bakker’s argument. http://news. bbc. co. uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2010/default. stm Causes of Aggression Before we discuss means of preventing aggression in sport it is important we understand how and why an athlete may become aggressive in the first place. A number of theories are still in competition as to why we are aggressive; however, I am going to concentrate on three of the most popular theories; the instinct theory, Frustration Aggression theory, and the social learning theory.
Instinct theory An instinct is an innate tendency to behave in a certain way. Basically this theory suggests that we as the human race are aggressive in sporting environments because it is in are genetic makeup, and therefore inevitable. Sigmund Freud (1919) was responsible for much of the psychoanalytical work of the instinct theory. Freud proposed that we are motivated towards two opposing instincts the life drive (Eros) and the death Drive (Thanatos). Freud believe people are motivated towards self- destruction through the death instinct.
Therefore, Eros and Thanatos are always in conflict and to resolve the conflict the aggression must be turned outwards, towards other. However, Freud also proposed that although aggression is always with us, we maintain the ability to exert some control over it. Thus it is not always inevitable. Richards (1994) looked at sport as a healthy way to release our death instinct. He studied the importance we attach to kicking in our aggressive tendencies and applied this to sports like football and rugby and termed them civilising influences.
Sport Psychology: a students handbook, Matt Jarvis, Routledge, 2006 A similar take on the instinct theory is that of ethology. Konrad Lorenz (1966) was responsible for much of the work on the ethological approach to this theory. Lorenz proposed that the human race have evolved to have a fighting instinct which is trigger by certain environmental stimuli. Lorenz believed that accumulated aggressive energy and the presents of aggression-releasing environmental stimuli would lead to a display of aggression, such as in a sporting environment. Advanced Studies in Physical
Education and sport, by Paul Beashel and John Taylor, Nelsons and sons ltd, 1996 Both Freud and Lorenz’s theorys support the idea of catharsis, the release of aggressive energies through aggression. So how does this relate to sport, for example imagine a linebacker in American football player who has had a rather frustrating game. He has thus far been truly able to get involved for a number of games. However he has been able to maintain his frustration and not lash out in a hostile way. Suddenly a player on the opposite side breaks through and is running to scour a touchdown.
The line backer gives chase and takes him down with a legal tackle. This cathartis through assertiveness. Play like this supports Richards’s belief of sport being a healthy way to release aggression. Many have refuted the idea that sport enables aggressive catharsis, one such research case being Zillman, Day and Johnson (1974). They compared the aggressive tendencies of athletes competing in aggressive sports athletes competing in non-aggressive sports and non athletes. The study found there was no difference between the three groups, which contradict the aggression-cathartis theory.
In accordance with this theory those participating in aggressive sports would be expected to be less aggressive as they had the opportunity to release there aggression through sport. However I do not believe this argument is broad enough to disprove this theory. Why, in an aggressive sport, while you may have more opportunity to release your aggression through catharsis, so does your opponent. If one team is being constantly bested by the other instead of becoming less aggressive they will become more aggressive. This argument is supported by Dollards the Frustration- Aggression theory (1939) which I will discuss later.
Psychology and sport, Sally Gadsdon, Heinemann, 2001 Whether aggression is innate or learned remains an ongoing argument in psychology. The Instincts involved in these theorys are difficult to identify and thus forth difficult to test. The main problem is that is aggression was instinctive and not learnt then every being on earth would display the same aggressiveness. Instinct theories only concentrate on aggression being innate and don’t take into account important environmental factors. Lore and Schultz (1993) have pointed out that all vertebrates show aggression, therefore; it must be a survival trait, in accordance with Lorenz’s argument.
However Baron ; Richardson (1992) have said that cross-cultural studies have found wide variation in human aggression. Smaller rural cultures such as the arapesh of new guinea have shown very little aggression in contrast to European and American standards, which suggests Morden life increases aggression, which is a environmental factor. There is lack of direct evidence to disprove this theory though it is obvious that different people have different levels of aggression, and if aggression is an instinct we all share then are aggressiveness would be the same.
Fustration-Aggresion Theory These theories, closely linked to instinct theorys due to aggression being innate, propose that although we all have an innate aggressive drive, aggressive behaviour is elicited by frustration. Anderson ; Dill, (1995) describe frustration as an interference blocking someone from obtaining a goal; aggression is a behavior in response to frustration, intended to harm the person blocking the goal. The main belief behind these theorys is that an aggressive act stems from an aggressive drive, drive being a state of inner tension.
The First of these theories was the drive reduction theory put forward by Dollard el al (1939). This stated that frustration is caused by an inability to obtain a goal. The frustration triggers an aggressive drive which leads to aggressive acts. Dollard put forward a particular model which showed his hypothesis: Above is Dollard et als frustration-aggression model (1939). It shows how a blockade to an athletes causes frustration which leads to aggression. Then the athlete can deal with his anger successfully within the rules of a the game; Cathartis.
For example a rugby player who has been tackled a number of times whilst trying to score a try, not all of those tackles legal, uses his aggression to legally barge his way past some backs and outruns the fullback to score a try. According to Dollards model this would cut out the obstacle (the backs) causing to frustration and aggression to subside. However the aggression could be released unsuccessfully. This would mean that the player would break the rules of the game and act overly aggressive, leading to punishment. This causes the cycle to continue.
The punishment would cause the player to become even more frustrated which again would lead to further aggression. Then, again they can release it unsuccessfully causing the cycle to continue or release it successfully, breaking the cycle. For example say the rugby player from above didn’t make the try. He became more and more frustrated at the outside centre who continuously tackles him. Ones he breaks through the defensive line again the outside centre charges him. His frustration leads to aggression and he gives the outside centre an elbow as he passes.
The referee may see this and give the player a yellow card, causing the player to spend time in the sin bin. This will lead to further frustration. When the player returns the further built up frustration may cause him to commit another foul and be shown a red card, removing him for the rest of the game. This frustration could possibly carry over until the next game, and if that doesn’t go well then the game after that to. This can cause this player to go through a term of “Bad Form” which is a common occurrence in many athletes.
Psychology and sport, Sally Gadsdon, Heinemann, 2001 Many sports psychologists have agreed with Dollards original modle. Anderson ; Dill (1995) also stated that “all acts of aggression are the result of previous frustration and all frustration leads to aggression”. Berkowitz (1989),however, reformulated the frustration – aggression hypothesis, proposing that frustration results from an inability to obtain a goal, creating a readiness for aggression or anger. This anger may lead to aggression if there is an aggressive “cues” are present. This may be a person, object or situation related to the frustrating event.
Though Berkowitz also states that an aggressive Cue doesn’t always have to be present to release aggression, though they make it more likely. Also in this argument frustration doesn’t always lead to aggression. A classic example of an aggressive cue is a football fan. Say a football fan is watching his supported team at home and they lose 3-0 to Wolverhampton wanderers. He is frustrated at the teams loss though doesn’t show aggression. Later in the week he is playing a Sunday morning football game with his team and there opponents have a dark yellow kit, a kit similar to wolves.
This may trigger his aggression at his football team’s loss, leading to him acting aggressive in the coming game. Applying sport psychology: 4 perspectives, Jim Taylor ; Gregory Scott-Wilson, Human Kinetics, 2005 Dollards original theory has been criticized for being over simplistic, stating that a blocked goal will always lead to frustration and frustration to aggression. Bandura (1973) criticized Dollard and his Yale associates formulation as a drive theory, holding that frustration typically only creates a general emotional arousal.
Zillman (1979) was also dubious and attained that demonstrations of aggression as a response to frustration were attributed to personal attack or the instrumental value of aggressive reactions. Zillman contended that “the blockage of a goal in of itself will not induce hostility or aggression. In contrast Baron (1977) was far more favourably disposed, but maintained that frustration is far less common or important as an ascendant of aggression. Baron suggested that “barriers to goal attainment would only invoke a aggressive reaction, if they were unexpected”. ttp://www. radford. edu/~jaspelme/_private/gradsoc_articles/aggression/frustration%20aggression. pdf The Frustration-aggression hypothesis validity has been greatly increased with berkowitz amendments. One of the theorys biggest criticisms was that frustration would not always lead to aggression and that aggression is possible without frustration. Berkowitz changed the hypothesis to state that frustration is a contributing factor to aggression, but another factor could set it off, or it could simply subside, which answered to that particular argument.
However Berkowitz still does not address other factors which could lead to aggression. Some psychologists have argued that we need to understand the meaning of aggressive acts for the individual carrying them out. These theorists often see aggression as a calculated, utility maximising act exacted so as to gain calculated benefits. These theories may perhaps help to explain the wide variety of motivational influences that can lead to aggression. Social learning theory Another approach to human aggression comes in the form of the social learning