Social Psychology

Student Learning Program

Chapter 13: Aggression and conflict (pp. 473515)

What's it about?

Conflict is seen as the perceived incompatibility of goals, where what is wanted by one group may be against the desires of another group. Aggression is defined by social psychologists as a behaviour whose immediate intent is to hurt someone. There are generally two distinct categories of aggression: instrumental aggression and hostile aggression. Group norms often promote aggressive behavior rather than restraining it. Models can reduce aggression, but often also enhance it. Factors that increase the chances of aggression include emotional arousal, alcohol, and time pressure, but similarity reduces aggression.

The realistic conflict theory argues that intergroup hostility, conflict, and aggression arise from competition among groups for mastery of scarce but valued material resources.

The relative deprivation theory suggests that social comparison, not objective reality, determines how satisfied or dissatisfied people are with what they have.

Approaches to reduce aggression and conflict include minimizing or removing aggressive cues; altering perceptions; encouraging cooperation; encouraging careful interpretation and identification with others; trying to find mutually acceptable solutions; or working together toward a shared goal.

Negotiation is reciprocal communication designed to reach agreement in situations where some interests are shared, and some are in opposition.

Superordinate goals are shared goals that can be attained only if groups work cooperatively as a team.

In this chapter

  1. Chapter 13 introduction
  2. Aggression, conflict, and human nature
  3. Interpersonal aggression
  4. Intergroup conflict
  5. Chapter overview (PDF)
  6. Fill-in-the-blanks
  7. Multiple-choice questions