Causes for development of aggression in children

Causes for creation of aggression in children

Aggression can be loosely defined as any behaviour which is supposed to harm another person whether physically or verbally. This investigation especially evaluates the biological and learning point of view of psychology accounting for the development of aggression in kids.

Aggression from the biological perspective is often viewed as an innate behaviour which is normally genetically passed on from the parents with their offspring or through various other biological factors such as for example low degrees of the neurotransmitter serotonin and selected mind structures when manipulated may lead to aggressive behaviour.

When considering the learning perspective and environmental determinants of aggression in kids. The key factors which play an important role in the expansion of aggression in kids will be the observation of others behaviour as demonstrated by Albert Bandura (1961) as well as, the frustration aggression hypothesis which includes been found to be a considerable element in the creation of aggression.

This exam investigates the origins of childhood aggression and evaluates two differing perspectives becoming the biological and learning point of view and collectively concludes that there are various factors which contribute to a kid acting aggressively. We wrote an article about characters stronger than Superman from the dark side. Biological elements such as genetics, low degrees of serotonin and the amygdale include proven to result in childhood aggression. In the same way, environmental determinants such as observation of others, press and video games are also found to trigger childhood aggression.

However, a knowledge and strong evaluation of both the biological and learning point of view has bring about a stronger foundation of understanding childhood aggression. Therefore, to fully understand the origins of aggressive behaviour both biological and environmental elements must be considered of their limited scope (i.e. Strengths and weaknesses).

There are many ways in which aggression can be defined. According to Berkowitz (1975) aggression is any behaviour which in turn causes intentional harm to someone else. There are many different forms of aggression which includes verbal, physical 500 word essay and emotional behaviours that are obvious in some children. Research conducted on young children suggest that aggression evolves in young children based on their biological background or their environmental context. This essay will get exploring and evaluating the biological perspective and learning point of view of psychology accounting for the development of aggression in small children. This issue is worthy of investigation since aggression has turned into a substantial social problem among forthcoming generations. It has definitely appealed if you ask me to understand the basis of intense behaviour as I have seen this behaviour between most children, teenagers and adults. It is my curiosity and eagerness to discover more about the production of aggression from two opposing opinions staying the biological and learning which has motivated me to attempt this research subject for my prolonged essay.

To get started with, the biological perspective is based on the assumption that behaviour is biologically determined. All emotional concerns stem from a physiological backdrop. Therefore, aggression in children based on the biological perspective is considered to end up being an innate behaviour. Biological factors which trigger intense behaviour in kids are inheritance, plus the neurotransmitter serotonin and selected structures in the mind which trigger aggressive behaviour. Many theories and case studies have already been put forward to aid the hypothesis that aggression in kids is biologically determined which is discussed in further detail. (Weiten, W. 2007).

Biological Perspective

The biological perspective suggests that aggression in children is usually inherited through the characteristics of parents. Many theories have already been driven by findings from research on animals, which highlight that there surely is some genetic factor to aggression. Selective breeding has got been one of many longest existing solutions to find the existence of a phenotypic characteristic. In 1979 a Finnish psychologist Kristi Lagerspetz, had taken the most intense mice from an assembly and mated them with others, and similarly the same requested those non intense mice. Lagerspetz’s procedure was repeated over 26 generations of mice giving birth to their offspring. (Grivas.J, Carter.L pg.95). The results indicated that the final group of offspring, which the mice have been bred for aggressive tendencies showed tremendous levels of aggression; in many cases they quickly attacked other mice exclusively for getting in the same cage as that mouse. On the contrary, the mice which were non aggressive didn’t show any signs of aggression, even though various other mice attacked them they didn’t illustrate the tendency to retaliate. In criticism of this experiment, it clearly can’t be conducted with humans since it is plainly unethical. However a substantial contribution of this selective breeding experiment is definitely its illustration of a genetic basis of aggression and how it is usually exceeded onto the offspring. These mice experienced a functional advantage over human beings because these species reproduce a new generation in an exceedingly short time, which is vital as aggressive behaviour can be monitored over successive generations in a brief period of time. Similarly, mice can even be placed imprisoned in the laboratory to observe their behaviours unlike humans. However there is usually some criticism of extrapolating from pets to humans. Despite some similarity between human beings and animals it is normally argued that there surely is still a large difference between human beings and animals therefore, a direct link cannot be made between the mice species and children.

On the other hands, more efficient methods of demonstrating that aggression in kids can be a heritable behaviour is usually emphasised by various other research methodologies such as for example twin studies. Twin research suggest that aggression in kids is normally a heritable trait and is usually offered from parents with their offspring. Twin studies are very useful because twins are manufactured from an individual egg fertilised simply by a single sperm, with regards to the research it assists in identifying the qualities of their genes. Consequently, most qualities that the twins show occur as a probability of being part of their genetic details which is identical; whereas whatever dissimilarities there are occurs therefore of the surroundings and experiences experienced by the average person. In a single study, conducted by research by Caspi (1998) info was collected from similar and non identical twins following a questionnaire asking several personal and non personal questions. The results indicated that extreme behaviour was just partly inherited and the surroundings played an similarly contributing role. However, relating to Baron and Richardson (1994), the inclination to be aggressive is not offered from the father and mother to the offspring; somewhat the temperament which is normally capable of making someone more or less aggressive can be inherited. Consequently giving a different method of how aggressive behaviour could be genetically passed on. Both of these twin studies are evidently indicative off the heritability of aggressive behaviour, yet it can’t be claimed that inheritance may be the only key factor which causes intense behaviour or the tendency in small children.

Over time research has also regularly indicated that low degrees of the neurotransmitter serotonin likewise plays a central position in increased degrees of aggression in kids. In a study that was conducted in a laboratory at the National Institute of Mental Overall health (Bethasda MD), a positive correlation was found between the neurotransmitter serotonin and the levels of aggression in children with focus deficit hyperactivity disorder (Serotonin and aggression in kids, Vol 2, pg 95-101). In another review conducted by Russian experts, silver foxes were studied and it was found that those foxes which had been selected for over 30 years for domestic behaviour revealed no defensive reactions to individuals because they had high levels of serotonin in various structures of the mind, compared to the foxes which have been bred without independence (Popova, Voitenko, Kulikov, Avgustinovich, 1991, pg 751). These studies plainly highlight the purpose which serotonin has in creating aggressive behaviour amongst children; the lower the degrees of serotonin the higher the level of aggression. Of lessons this research could be criticised on the lands that it is a major jump from family pets to children. Yet, the strength of this experiment was that these foxes could possibly be trained and kept ever an extended time period where there behaviour is closely observed unlike individuals who cannot be maintained in such tamed conditions.

There also certain elements of the brain which were found to be responsible for the expansion of aggression in human beings particularly children. Both of these structures located within the brain becoming the hypothalamus and the amygdales were found to be accountable for extreme behaviour. Both structures are made up of nerve cells and talk to one another via electric indicators. These brain structures could be manipulated using electrical currents where the experimenter may either decide to switch on or pull the plug on the brain structures disabling their ordinary operation using an electrode. It’s been found through numeral attempts that whenever these structures were stimulated, some animals initiate a rise in aggressive responses and when it was switched off meaning its functioning was ended aggressive responses decreased. For instance when animals such as for example pups and cats’ hypothalamus and amygdale had been manipulated by the electrode and their activity was blocked the pets demonstrated no behaviour towards particular objects which generally trigger

an aggressive response. Say for example a puppy wouldn’t bark at any passing pet, highlighting no intense response. However, through the normal operation of these structures these family pets generally bark at any passing pup. This plainly demonstrates that the manipulation of the hypothalamus and amygdale both play a role in the creation of aggression. Such methods of demonstrating the purpose which selected structures of the

Evaluation of the biological perspective

The biological procedure of explaining extreme behaviour in children is very scientific consequently thought to be reliable. It is predicated on many experimental studies which are conducted in laboratory conditions. However this is merely not only strength but as well a potential weakness as associated with the biological point of view in explaining aggressive behaviour in children. The reason being is that folks particularly kids will behave differently under laboratory conditions when faced with an identical situation in real life. Thus, this does not implicate that such lab experiments aren’t valuable alternatively they are limited to the generalisabilty. However, it’s been found that there’s a positive correlation between true to life situations and predicted aggressive behaviour in laboratory analyses which suggest that laboratory experiments happen to be fairly useful.

The biological perspective can be criticised on the basis that aggression in children can’t be related to studies which were conducted on pets or animals. One argument stemming out of this criticism is that it’s not possible to apply animal findings to individuals whatever the similarities because they are different. Parallels between individuals and animals may be oversimplified and for that reason social together with learning processes must also be taken under consideration. Interpretation of animal benefits from the biological point of view requires cautious interpretation. However on the contrary, using animals to show the link between childhood aggression and biological factors is also very beneficial. That is due to the fact that some studies like the breeding of generations and the localisation of the mind to identify parts which play important roles in the production of aggression can’t be conducted on humans because it may cause psychological and physical harm to the participants and largely likely will result in death. Similarly, there is always some kind of connection and in the same way between animals and individuals therefore using animals could be a starting point to understanding the biological bases of aggression in children is benfiecial.

Another weakness of explaining the production of aggression in children from the biological perspective is for the reason that biological way is reductionist. That is one of the main weaknesses which the biological perspective incorporates. It generally does not regard or take in to the account the conversation of your brain and body with the surroundings rather only takes into consideration the neurological processes. It generally does not consider into perspective the impact of the encompassing environment. That is a downfall as complicated human behaviours cannot continually be discussed on a genetic basis; the encompassing environment as well plays a central part in the influencing and triggering of aggressive behaviour. For example, it cannot be claimed that only 1 structure of the brain is responsible for the production of aggression in children because all structures of the mind are linked and their influence or triggering of behaviour cannot be predicated on one structure.

The biological perspective as well consists of low ecological validity. Most research are executed within laboratory conditions so having low ecological validity. Experiments executed in the laboratory will most definitely produce different results then in true to life situations as participants will not demonstrate the precise same behavior in real life situations because they will in the laboratory.

Similarly, the findings of most studies conducted can’t be generalised to all children. These findings are applicable to a small sample and findings can’t be expected to be the same for a distinct sample of kids as all children are different. Yet, this can be a starting place to understanding the foundation of aggressive behaviour.

Learning Perspective

On the other palm the learning perspective is established on the basis that although everyone is born with a genetic endowment which may be the reason behind instinctual behaviours, the majority of behaviour is learned from the environment. From this basic assumption the learning perspective recommend that aggression in kids does not purely develop because of this of biological factors, rather it accounts for a very minor part. Aggression is definitely learnt from the observation of additional people and their intense behaviour. Aggression in children can be learnt through the observation of discouraged persons who surround them and frustration also triggers aggressive behaviour. It has also been found that violent video games are linked to aggressive behaviour amidst children.

Firstly, one of the theories proposed to aid aggression from the learning perspective is the ‘frustration-aggression hypothesis’ that was proposed by John Dallas (1930) and his companions. The frustration aggression theory shows that frustration is the main factor which plays a part in aggression. If in times where one is disappointed then it will immediately result in aggressive behaviour. According to the hypothesis aggression is only going to occur due to frustration and no other particular factor. As well, the amount of aggression demonstrated is normally purely dependant on how frustrated one may be. For instance whenever a kid is prevented from taking a course of action or being prevented from something it is most likely believed that the child will be extreme; occurring because of this of being frustrated. For instance, whenever a child wants a plaything or a chocolate from the supermarket and they don’t get what they need then very often they become extreme against their parents whether physically as well as verbally. Even so, this theory features its weaknesses. Frustration will not always cause aggression it could often lead to depression and actually withdrawal. Also, aggression generally occurs consequently of many other feelings such as sadness, fear, stress and anxiety etc.

Roger Barker, Tamara Dembo and Kurt Lewin (1941) further more investigated frustration as a reason behind aggression in small children. In their conducted study, kids were proven a roomful of desirable toys which were held out of their reach. The children were kept from the toys some time before they were permitted to play with them. Alternatively, the controlled conditioned band of the children were allowed to right away play with the gadgets. Similar to Dallas’s findings, it was observed from this conducted study that the children who were frustrated because they had to wait an extended period of time before being exposed to the toys, played out aggressively with the toys and games by smashing and stomping the playthings. On the other hand, the children who were allowed to play immediately with the gadgets handled them cautiously and played happily.

One interpersonal determinant of intense behaviour is usually Albert Bandura’s public learning theory (1961) which highlights the purpose of observation and its own consequences on the extreme behaviour of children from the learning perspective. Albert Bandura believes that the majority of human behaviour is learned by observing a model or just another person, which influences a child’s perspective of how this different behaviour can be developed and eventually believing that this fresh attained behaviour is a guide for their actions. This provides the foundation of explaining intense behaviour in kids from the training perspective. Albert Bandura’s renowned experiment was the Bobo doll experiment; bobo doll being truly a plastic clown doll. In this experiment Albert Bandura and his co-workers, examined the consequences of children observing an adult behave aggressively with a bobo doll. During the experiment he previously children watching model performing aggressively towards a bobo doll. They watched the training video of the model frequently acting aggressively in ways of resting on the doll, punching it and kicking it repeatedly. He also had other kids watch a non aggressive model playing calmly with the bobo doll. Once the children were subjected to such models, these were taken into another room where there have been many toys amidst them the bobo doll. The results out of this indicated that kids, who were exposed to the aggressive unit and observed their acts, imitated aggressive behaviour towards the bobo doll. Whereas, the children who were subjected to the non aggressive model showed no or very little aggressive behaviour.

Albert Bandura’s Bobo Doll was suitable to highlight the purpose of observation in children’s learning. Kids were the subject as they are much less socially conditioned unlike adults. Nevertheless, this experiment raises the probability that children may have thought that this experiment was a casino game as a consequence of the bobo doll having a springtime which springs back immediately after being knocked down. A criticism of the research is that it’s not ecological. Thus the kids may have not really acted aggressively towards any people in true to life.

A criticism of the social learning theory is also that this theory will not take into account the changes which a child undertakes including physical and mental as a kid matures. Children at different ages may respond to laboratory experiments in different ways.

Much like observation of other’s behaviours violent video gaming and television shows have also been proved to a particular

extent to bring about aggression in children. The learning perspective suggests that kids who play violent video gaming very often such as for example Doom, Wolfenstein 3D or Mortal Fight and others could induce aggressive behaviour, either physically or verbally. Violent video gaming have a supplementary impact on young children and trigger aggressive behaviour more than violent television shows because they’re more interactive where the child is engaged in such extreme acts and finally they will be rewarded for acting aggressively in the overall game. Dr. Craig A good. Anderson, Ph.D. (2000), of Iowa Talk about University in Ames and his co-workers discovered that in the U.S and Japan that Japanese and American children who played violent video gaming demonstrated more aggressive behaviour months later in comparison to their peers who didn’t. In this research, 181 Japanese learners aged between 12 and 15 years outdated and 364 U.S. children aged between 9 and12 years older were tested. The U.S children named their favourite video games and how often they played them. Whereas with the Japanese children, they were observed to see how quite often they played violent video gaming. The children were later on asked to level their degree of aggression and reports from their teachers and peers had been also taken into consideration. From the results it was found that the kids who were exposed to more violent video gaming were a lot more aggressive than those who were less exposed. This was particularly demonstrated whenever a comparison was produced between their prior degrees of aggression (at the beginning of the analysis) and how there is a dramatic rise in this level. (Cited in BBC News, Video gaming ‘increase aggression, Well being Section). Violent video games can impact on children’s aggression levels, that is because of the fact the children get started to believe that the world can be a hostile place and aggressive acts are acceptable and are part of a standard daily life to manage the aggressive world. Additionally it is been discovered that continuous and excessive exposure to violent video gaming causes children to become desensitized to violence. Once they have been engaged in aggressive acts it impacts on the kids emotionally and as a result these children find it easier and acceptable to engage in violence and aggressive acts.

Berkowitz. (1979) investigated the effect of pain and discomfort on individuals to show their likelihood of acting aggressively. He induced pain by inserting the participant’s hands in wintry or hot water while they distributed rewards and punishments to somebody. Berkowitz identified that those that had their hands located in the cold water caused greater home to their partner then those that got their hands immersed in hot water.

Evaluation of the learning perspective

The learning perspective also includes strengths and weaknesses. Similar to the biological perspective of describe aggressive behaviour in children, it really is reductionist. It explains intense behaviour when it comes to a characteristic which has been learnt although it does not deny/ or reject the genetic endowment of aggressive behaviour it argues that extreme behaviour is study through observation and triggered by the encompassing environment and conditions. It simplifies the occurrence of selected behaviours especially aggression right into a few steps. For example the condition of reduction is obvious in Albert Bandura’s study of the bobo doll whereby aggressive behaviour is reduced to the process of imitation. Therefore, it has overlooked other leading causes of the production of aggression like the children’s upbringing and residence environment. Children were varied as a result some children may have been brought up in a violent home and exposed to many aggressive situations, as a result this may have affected just how they acted in the laboratory and the best results of the experiment.

The Frustration aggression hypothesis backed by Dallas (1931) isn’t a very efficient method of demonstrating how childhood aggression develops as in some instances, such as for example learned helplessness, frustration might not result in aggression instead may result in depression; therefore frustration isn’t the only main factor which contributes to extreme behaviour there are different sources which may bring about aggressive behaviour.

The learning perspective likewise denies some very crucial mental processes which likewise result in the creation of aggression in children. It does not take into account how certain human brain structures may trigger aggressive behaviour, put simply it does not consider neurological processes rather easily makes up about the influences of daily lives and the environmental context which one is brought up in. It generally does not integrate any biological or cognitive procedures which are also in charge of the expansion of aggression.

Nevertheless, the learning perspective focuses on the environment and the condition in which a child is conditioned to produce an intense response. It has many practical applications which have been effective in explaining the advancement of extreme behaviour. It evidently highlights how specific behaviours particularly aggression can be discovered by the observation of others.

The learning perspective also offers a minimal ecological validity, whereby the kids who were participating in the experiment may have got acted in different ways in the laboratory after that what they might have in a real life scenario. To be specific, Albert Bandura’s bobo doll experiment can be criticised on the how to write a persuasive speech grounds that the children’s aggression was measured away from their natural environment. However if such experiments are conducted in a more realistic manner then the results would be more beneficial with regards to focusing on how aggressive behaviour in kids develops.


Having regarded as the interpretations of the production of aggression in children from both the biological and learning perspective and the criticisms which come up from the research conducted, it usually is concluded that both the biological and learning perspective contribute to the production of aggression in children. In conditions of the biological perspective, this talks about aggression as purely predicated on biological bases. It really is highly reliable since is founded on science. However the learning perspective, opinions aggression mainly because unrelated to genes alternatively being learnt. The training perspective’s social learning theory is an extremely useful description for the extreme behaviour of children. It not merely applies to direct encounters such as for example being disciplined by parents but instead at all times such as for example when watching television. Whereas the frustration-aggression hypothesis has a weaker stand, simply because frustration does not always educe aggression rather it may encourage retaliation. The hypothesis shows that frustration accounts for all aggressive acts because of this it is not totally justified, because there are more determinants of intense behaviour. Both the biological point of view and learning perspective derive from a lot of support and studies which were conducted. However, the learning perspective views aggression in children as having some sort of biological basis, however through experience and reinforcement that aggression becomes evident amongst children. For instance, the position of the parent is paramount in using the biological factors of the kid to mould the child and guide them through their expansion. If a child’s genes happen to be intense, the parent within the surroundings will try to nurture and accommodate for their child’s genes by striving to supply a calm background. Father and mother may also choose to put the youngster in a career that’s sports oriented to appeal to the aggressive levels to be able to use their strength in a positive approach. From this it is clearly evident that both biological point of view and learning perspective take into account and donate to the advancement of aggression in kids.

Both the learning perspective and biological contribute equally to the creation of aggression in children as it is challenging to isolate the contributing factors. It is clear that biological elements and also the surrounding environment both enjoy a considerable role in the advancement of aggressive behaviour in children.


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