Aggression: Theories and Theoretical Solutions
I began my research on the topic of violent crime prevention. After reading about different crime programs, it became obvious to me that many of these programs conflicted in their deterrence philosophy. Many of the crime programs were based on a different theory of violence causation. It seemed more important for me to understand why violence exists before learning the methods of preventing crime. I looked up the definition of violence in several sources and after combining some words decided that violence is simply extreme aggression. Aggression is the behavior intended to injure another person. The six main aggression theories include: the instinct theories, the biological theories, the drive theories, the learning theories, the social learning theories, and the cognitive theories. Understanding the major theories of aggression is essential to understanding the theoretical and practical solutions to fighting crime.
Pioneered by Sigmund Freud, the instinctive theories of aggression are arguably the first explanations of human aggression. In the 1920's Freud formulated his theories known as life and death instincts. He believed that the life instinct explained humans' motivation to protect and reproduce themselves. Juxtaposed to Freud's life instinct was his death instinct - a deep and usually suppressed desire to end the stresses of life by death. Freud considered aggression to be an expression of the death instinct towards other people rather than towards oneself - to release the stresses of life.
Freud's death instinct is not the only aggression instinct theory that has achieved notable recognition. Scholar Konrad Lorenz established his theory on aggression based on Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection. Natural Selection states that only the strongest survive. Lorenz believed that "aggression drive is a primarily species preserving instinct”. (Montagu 1976) By the us...
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