Research into Environmental Stressors on Aggressive Behaviour

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Research into Environmental Stressors on Aggressive Behaviour

The two environmental stressors I have chosen to discuss are

temperature and over-crowding.

A theory that best describes environmental stressors on aggressive

behaviour is the negative affect escape (NAE) theory; this claims that

when the unpleasant stimuli increases so does the negative affect (the

mood) and this leads to an increase of aggressive behaviour or an

increase in the escape behaviour, if a person cannot escape they will

become more aggressive and this can relate to temperature because it

is something we cannot escape, so when the unpleasant stimuli becomes

extreme people rather focus on their escape or they will become


Temperature can play an important role with aggression, Baron and Bell

did research involving the effects of heat on aggression by seeing how

willing a participant would be to give electric shocks to another,

they found that temperatures within the range of 92-95F generally

increased the level of aggression. However when the temperatures

became too extreme they found the levels of aggression decreased, in

these conditions the participants were stressed and did not want to

handle the person’s angry reactions, because they didn’t want the

hassle of the added stress. Baron and Bell’s study showed a

curvilinear effect (where the relationship between heat and aggression

both increase together but as it gets to a certain point the

aggression decreases) between temperature and aggression which was

predicted by the NAE theory saying that when temperature becomes very

high an individual seeks to escape lowering aggression, but at lower


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... such as concerts and pro-social

gatherings but if you are not enjoying yourself then you may become

stressed which will lead to the aggressive behaviour. It also can be

related to de-individuation as being in a crowd can lead to loss of

personal identity which could intensify aggressive tendencies that

already exist amongst the group or could intensify their positive

mood. Schmitt’s claim that high population density increases crime was

challenged by Kelley who could not find a relationship between

aggressive assault and population density, Kelley found that

non-violent crimes such as car theft were more frequent in lower urban

densities. Freedman also suggested that once social factors such as

economic level, education level and ethnicity were taken into account

the relationship between crowding and crime disappears.

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