Assessment 4: Expansion Recommendation


Prepare either a 3-4 page report or a 12-slide presentation in which you analyze financial information and risks associated with an investment to expand an organization and make a recommendation on whether or not to invest in expansion.
This portfolio work project will allow you to review information and risks associated with an investment to expand an organization. As this information will be shared broadly across the organization, you will have a choice in your final deliverable audience and will organize your deliverable to meet the needs of that audience.
ZXY Company is a food product company. ZXY is considering expanding to two new products and a second production facility. The food products are staples with steady demands. The proposed expansion will require an investment of $7,000,000 for equipment with an assumed ten-year life, after which all equipment and other assets can be sold for an estimated $1,000,000. They will be renting the facility. ZXY requires a 12 percent return on investments. You have been asked to recommend whether or not to make the investment.
Your Role
You are an accounting manager. Your boss has asked you to review and provide a recommendation on the expansion based on information that has been provided.
In preparing and supporting your recommendation to either make the investment or not, include the following items as part of your analysis:

Analysis of financial information.
Identification of risks associated with the investment. Consider:

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How risky the project appears.
How far off your estimates of revenues and expenses can be before your decision would change.
The difference if the company were to use a straight line versus a MACRS depreciation.

Recommendation for a course of action.
Explanation of criteria supporting your recommendation.

Financial Information
As part of your analysis you might find that additional information from marketing, accounting, or finance would be useful in making an informed and well-supported recommendation. In a real workplace setting you would have the ability to ask for that information. However, for the purposes of this assessment, you can make assumptions about the values of that data or ratios in support of your recommendation.
Accounting worked with the marketing group to create the ZXY Company Financial Statements spreadsheet for the new products business and the new facility.
Notes about the financial information:

The expense line labeled SQF FDA Mandates refers to the costs of complying with Food and Drug Administration requirements.
Depreciation expense is calculated using 7-year life modified accelerated cost recovery system (MACRS).

Deliverable Format
Depending on the audience you choose to address, use one of the following options:

Report for a mid-management audience. Prepare a 34 page report detailing your recommendation and the information you used to make your recommendation.
Presentation for top leadership. Prepare a presentation of at least 12 slides detailing your recommendation and the information you used to make your recommendation. You may use your choice of presentation software. Include notes with additional details.

Keep in mind that your recommendation may be shared with others, so your materials should be designed for clarity and readability.
Related company standards for either format:

The recommendation report is a professional document and should therefore follow the corresponding MBA Academic and Professional Document Guidelines, including single-spaced paragraphs.
In addition to the report or presentation, include:

Title (slide or page).
References (slide or page).
Appendix with supporting materials.
At least two APA-formatted references.

By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies through corresponding scoring guide criteria:

Competency 2: Apply principles of accounting to assess financial performance.

Analyze financial statements for decision support.
Explain risks associated with an investment decision.

Competency 3: Analyze accounting information to support business decisions.

Recommend a course of action based on financial information.
Explain how financial criteria support a decision.

Competency 4: Communicate financial information with multiple stakeholders.

Communicate accounting information clearly.

Faculty will use the scoring guide to review your deliverable as if they were your boss. Review the scoring guide prior to developing and submitting your assessment.
This portfolio work project demonstrates your competency in applying knowledge and skills required of an MBA learner in the workplace. Include this in your personal ePortfolio.
Note: Faculty may also use the Writing Feedback Tool to provide feedback on your writing. In the tool, click the linked resources for helpful writing information.


Do Juvenile Delinquency Diversion Programs Work

Prior to starting this discussion, please read Chapters 6 and 7 in your textbook, watch the Columbine: Understanding Why video, and read the Dylan Klebold’s Diversion Documents and Eric Harris’s Diversion Documents juvenile diversion program papers.
juvenile diversion program papers.
Your initial post should be at least 250 words in length. Please elaborate on the following:

Your textbook covers primary and secondary types of juvenile delinquency diversion programs. Briefly examine each type, and provide an example of each.
Klebold and Harris had contact with the criminal justice system prior to the Columbine shooting. Based on your textbook readings on theories of aggression, evaluate what, if anything, you saw in the video and/or read in the diversion papers that may have provided a clue as to the boys later aggressive and violent behavior.
In your opinion, supported by scholarly or credible sources, explain if there was anything the juvenile justice system missed or could have done better that may have prevented the Columbine massacre from happening. Keep in mind that there are not always clear warning signs and not all tragedies are preventable. However, evaluate what insight, if any, was gleaned from the Columbine tragedy about the nature of aggression and delinquent behavior.


6Aggression and Violence

FatCamera/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Learning Outcomes

After reading this chapter, you should be able to

Define the concept of aggression.

Evaluate behavior to determine if it meets the criteria for aggression.

Identify the various categories of aggression.

Distinguish between biological and evolutionary psychological theories of aggression.

Examine the role that social learning plays in developing and eliciting aggressive behavior.

Analyze the developmental and situational factors that may lead to aggression.

Understand the connection between gender and aggression.

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Section 6.1 Introduction

Introductory Case Study: Scott Beierle
Scott Beierle, a 40-year-old military veteran and former public school teacher living in Florida,
lost his job for asking a female student if she was ticklish and then inappropriately touching
her. Over the years, he was arrested multiple times for approaching women in public places and
groping them. The charges rarely resulted in any meaningful punishment, since victims often did
not pursue prosecution.

Beierle had posted multiple YouTube videos in which he expressed racist and sexist views, includ-
ing bitter hatred of women. For example, in one video Beierle stated that promiscuous women
should be crucified and that minority women, along with those who date minority men, were
disgusting. In the videos, Beierle also compared himself to mass murderer Elliot Rodger, who
killed six people near the University of California at Santa Barbara campus in 2014. It was clear
to those who came in contact with Beierle and his videos that he harbored deep anger and resent-
ment. However, it was unclear what precipitated these feelings. Then the unthinkable happened.

On November 2, 2018, Beierle walked into the Hot Yoga Tallahassee yoga studio with a gym bag
and a yoga mat, posing as a patron. Just as class was about to begin, Beierle took a handgun out
of his bag and opened fire on the other patrons in the studio, killing 21-year-old Maura Binkley
and 61-year-old Nancy Van Vessem and wounding five others before turning the gun on himself.
Other than Beierles arrest history and YouTube videos, there was no other evidence police had
that could explain what led to his aggression that resulted in a shocking act of physical violence.

As you read this chapter, consider the following questions regarding this case:

1. What about Beierles behavior meets the criteria to be labeled aggressive?
2. Which of the categories of aggression does Beierles behavior fall under?
3. Which of the theories of aggression help explain Beierles behavior?
4. What, if anything, could have been done to prevent Beierles behavior?

6.1 Introduction
Researchers are more interested than ever before in examining the factors related to violent
and aggressive behavior, due in no small part to the increasing frequency of mass shootings.
Identifying the root cause(s) of violence and aggression may help psychologists devise inter-
ventions designed to prevent deadly aggression such as mass violence. However, it is impor-
tant to understand that examining the problems of aggression and violence has been of great
interest to philosophers, psychologists, and criminologists throughout history.

Philosophers Thomas Hobbes (in the 1500s) and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (in the 1700s) had
strong views on aggression and violence. For example, Hobbes believed that aggression was
biological. His view was that violence resulted because humans are evil by nature and thus
must be controlled by the community to prevent aggressive behavior. Rousseau disagreed.
His perspective was that humans learn aggressive behavior by interacting with others. Many
early philosophical and psychological perspectives on aggression posit that this type of behav-
ior is always violent and thus always criminal. However, research shows this is not the case.

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Section 6.2 What Is Aggression?

Throughout the chapter, you will read about various theories of aggression and the support-
ing research. You will learn that not all aggression is physical, and it is not always violent.
In order to formally study aggressive behavior and violent behavior, psychology researchers
have identified categories of aggression that help us make sense of the nature of aggression
and violence and of whether the behavior rises to the level of criminality. Keep in mind as
you read the chapter that not all aggressive behavior is violent but that all violent behavior is
aggressive. Perhaps to aid your understanding of this, the best place to start is with precisely
defining the concept of aggression.

6.2 What Is Aggression?
Defining aggression is not as simple and straightforward an undertaking as it may seem.
Think about how often the term aggressive is used to describe someone elses behavior, such
as yelling at someone, cutting off other drivers on the roadway, spreading cruel rumors about
someone, or punching a wall when angry. These are commonly thought of as clear examples
of aggression.

However, social psychologists Baron and Richardson (1994) define aggression as any form of
behavior directed toward the goal of harming another living being who is motivated to avoid
being harmed. According to social psychologists, the key elements required to categorize a
behavior as aggressive are

1. there must be an observed behavior,
2. there must be a goal to harm,
3. that harm must be directed at another living being, and
4. that living being must be motivated to avoid the harm.

These four elements render the act aggressive in nature. When considering this definition, the
example of punching a wall when angry would not be considered aggressive because there
is a missing element: There is no other living being who is motivated to avoid being harmed.

According to the definition above, which of these can we classify as aggression?

A hitman murders an unfaithful husband for $1,000.
A woman, angry with her supervisor, tells a coworker that the supervisor is cheating

on her husband with another coworker.
A teenager helps an elderly woman cross the street but accidentally trips the

woman, who falls and suffers a fractured wrist.

First, we want to examine if any of these examples has the four elements of behavior, goal to
harm, directed at another living being, and another person motivated to avoid the harm. There-
fore, if you guessed that the first two are examples of aggression, you are correct. The hitman
example clearly contains all four elements, including the key element of intent to cause harm.
In the context of the criminal justice system, intent to cause harm is a key element in whether
the behavior constitutes a crime or is merely an unfortunate accident. This is discussed in
more depth in Chapter 8.

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Section 6.3 Categories of Aggression

The second example, in which a woman spreads a malicious rumor about her boss, also con-
stitutes aggressive behavior. The woman intended to harm her supervisor, and presumably
her supervisor is motivated to avoid such harm. Although the elderly woman in the third
example suffered an injury at the hands of the teenager, this is not aggression. The miss-
ing element in our definition of aggression in this context is that the teenagers goal was to
help rather than to harm the woman. An accident is not intentional and thus does not con-
stitute aggressive behavior. Unintentional harm is not without consequences, but carrying
out behavior that is intended to hurt someone is considered much worse than unintentional
harm (Ames & Fiske, 2013).

As you can see, there are a number of behaviors that can be categorized as aggressive when
accompanied by the four elements previously described.

6.3 Categories of Aggression
Social psychologists have created categories to describe the various dimensions of aggres-
sion. The main categories of aggression are hostile (emotional) aggression, instrumental
(cognitive) aggression, physical aggression, and nonphysical aggression (see Figure 6.1).

Figure 6.1: Categories of aggression

The main categories of aggression are hostile, instrumental, physical, and nonphysical. Verbal and
relational aggression are subtypes of nonphysical aggression.

Categories of aggression





Verbal Relational

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Section 6.3 Categories of Aggression

Hostile (Emotional) Aggression
Hostile aggression can best be thought of as reactive, impulsive, or hot aggression that
occurs as the result of a real or perceived threat or insult. Hostile aggression is driven by emo-
tions, as in the case of Philip Wood.

In the summer of 2019, Wood, a 50-year-old man, was at a pub in Valley, Alabama, relaxing
and enjoying the evening with friends when another bar patron, Sidney Harmon, began to
argue with him. Witnesses were not sure what the disagreement was about, but as tempers
flared, the incident escalated. Wood then produced a knife and stabbed Harmon to death.
Wood immediately ran from the scene; however, there were several eyewitnesses who helped
police identify him, and he was later arrested.

Woods aggressive behavior occurred as the result of his anger, and in an impulsive and hos-
tile act, he stabbed Harmon. In hostile aggression, the intent to harm arises in response to the
current situation. Because the two men were strangers to one another, there was no plan on
Woods behalf to harm Harmon until they began to argue at the bar.

Instrumental (Cognitive) Aggression
Instrumental aggression is the opposite of hostile aggression such that there is some level
of planning that goes into instrumental aggression. It can be thought of as cool aggres-
sion. Whereas the underlying motivation behind hostile aggression is emotion, instrumental
aggression lacks the emotional component and is often used as a means to some end. That
is, the goal in instrumental aggression is to harm someone for personal gain. See Case Study:
Comparing the Cases of Serina Wolfe and Daniel Rosado to explore different cases in which two
people employed instrumental aggression.

Case Study: Comparing the Cases of Serina Wolfe
and Daniel Rosado

Case One

In 2019 Serina Wolfe and her boyfriend were
living in Clearwater, Florida. Wolfe asked him to
buy her a plane ticket to New York so that she
could visit with friends and family. Her boy-
friend refused to purchase the $300 plane ticket
for her. Wolfe was angry with her boyfriend
and wanted to get back at him. She hatched a
plan to take his credit card without him notic-
ing and spend thousands of dollars. Wolfe stole
the card, went to a local restaurant, and used
her boyfriends credit card to leave a $5,000 tip
on a $50 restaurant bill. Wolfe was arrested for
grand theft after police discovered that she was
the one who took the card and made the charge.

(continued on next page)

Alife/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Instrumental or cool aggression
involves planning and is focused on
personal gain, such as Serina Wolfe
stealing her boyfriends credit card.

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Section 6.3 Categories of Aggression

Physical (Violent) Aggression
Physical aggression is perhaps the type of behavior most frequently thought of as aggres-
sive in nature. Physical aggression can include hitting, biting, scratching, kicking, stabbing,
shooting, punching, or any other physical act that is intended to cause bodily harm to another
living being. It is important to note that physical aggression constitutes violent behavior. That
is, violence is aggressive behavior that uses physical force intended to cause bodily injury
or death. It is also important to point out that physical aggression may seem to be hostile or
hot aggression. However, as you have learned so far, the intent to harm someone does not
always include causing physical harm, and the intent to cause bodily harm can fall under hos-
tile aggression or instrumental aggression.

For example, Philip Wood caused fatal bodily harm to Sidney Harmon when he stabbed Har-
mon. That is, Wood used physical (violent) aggression (stabbing) in the heat of a spontaneous
argument. This resulted in Harmons grave bodily injuries and untimely death. Therefore,
Wood engaged in hostile physical aggression.

Contrarily, Daniel Rosado engaged in instrumental physical aggression when he shot at police
and wrestled with a bystander as he attempted to flee the bank. In Rosados case, the aggres-
sion was part of his plan to elude capture. Both Wood and Rosado used violence to achieve
their goals of harming another living being. However, Woods violence was motivated by emo-
tion in the heat of the moment, whereas Rosados was motivated by his plan to obtain the
desired cash from the bank even if it meant causing bodily harm to anyone who attempted to
thwart him.

Case Study: Comparing the Cases of Serina Wolfe
and Daniel Rosado (continued)

In Wolfes case, she planned how she was going to harm her boyfriend and carried out her plan
as a means of punishing him for not buying her the plane ticket. Wolfes instrumental aggres-
sion led to a being charged with a crime.

Case Two

On May 1, 2019, Daniel Rosado went into Middlesex Savings Bank in Massachusetts armed
with a gun and a plan to rob the bank. Rosado entered the bank, pulled out his gun, shot into
the ceiling, and demanded that the bank teller fill his bag with cash. The robbery was foiled
when a bank customer was able to sneak out and flag down a police officer, who exchanged
gunfire with Rosado as he fled the scene. Another patron tackled Rosado on the street as he
fled, but Rosado was able to slip away. However, Rosado was apprehended in Rhode Island 3
weeks after the attempted bank robbery.

In Rosados case, his intent was to harm any bank staff, customers, or police who got in the
way of his attempt to steal the cash that day. Rosados aggressive behavior was the means to
an end to rob the bank. He planned the attack such that he armed himself, shot the gun into
the bank ceiling and at police who tried to stop him, and tussled with a bystander who tackled
him to the ground to stop him. Rosados acts that day provide a clear example of instrumental

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Section 6.3 Categories of Aggression

Nonphysical Aggression
Nonphysical aggression isnt what we usually think about when we consider aggression, but
it can be just as harmful as physical aggression. The two types of nonphysical aggression are
verbal and relational.

Verbal Aggression
Verbal aggression is a form of nonphysical
aggression that includes shouting, swear-
ing, name-calling, or any other nonphysical
verbal behavior that is intended to harm
another living being when that individual
is motivated to avoid being harmed. Ver-
bal aggression often accompanies physical
aggression; however, there are instances
in which the aggressive behavior is limited
to words expressed from one individual to

An example of verbal aggression occurred
on January 2, 2019, when a woman board-
ing a United Airlines flight from Las Vegas,
Nevada, to Newark, New Jersey, began
hurling insults at the two women she was
seated between. The woman began telling
the other two passengers that she was feeling squished between them but at least theyll
keep me warm (as cited in CBS News, 2019). She complained that the two passengers were
overweight and that she did not know how she would survive the flight for the next 4 hours.
One of the passengers complained to a flight attendant, and other passengers sitting nearby
admonished the woman for her behavior. Flight attendants then tried to move the verbally
aggressive woman to another seat, but the woman continued to yell insults at the other pas-
sengers and again toward the women she was seated between. The woman was ejected from
the flight as a result of her behavior.

It is clear that the verbally aggressive woman intended to hurt the other two passengers
with her words, but it is less clear whether this behavior constitutes hostile or instrumental
aggression. In order to make this determination, we would need more information about her
ultimate motive. If she sat down and became angry upon seeing and feeling limited space at
her seat and had no other motive than to shame and embarrass the women, then we can cat-
egorize this as hostile aggression. However, if her ultimate goal was to cause such discomfort
to the women that one or both asked to be moved to another seat, then the verbally aggressive
woman engaged in instrumental aggression. This is because the verbally aggressive words
would serve as a means to some other goal besides simply causing harm to the women.

See Spotlight: Exploring Criminality of Verbal Aggression to explore whether verbal aggression
can be considered criminal.

fizkes/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Verbal aggression includes shouting, swearing,
name-calling, and any other nonphysical
verbal behaviors that are intended to harm
someone; it can be accompanied by physical

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Section 6.3 Categories of Aggression

Relational (Social) Aggression
Another form of nonphysical aggression is relational (social) aggression, which occurs
when the desired intent is to harm anothers relationships or social standing. In relational
aggression, the behavior does not involve a direct confrontation with the intended target of
the harm. It is more covert. Archer and Coyne (2005) identified certain behaviors exhibited
in relational aggression, including but not limited to spreading malicious gossip, ostracizing
someone from a social group, giving someone the silent treatment, turning people against
one another, stealing anothers spouse or partner, and flirting with someone else to incite a
jealous response from ones partner. Relational aggression is more common among females.

Relational aggression has been studied extensively in schoolchildren, and findings show that
the old adage Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me appears
to be incorrect. That is, relational aggression is often considered bullying, especially in social
environments in which groups of people gather regularly, such as at school or the workplace.
Social psychologists have found that young victims of relational aggression are far more likely
to experience negative mental health outcomes. These include depression, anxiety, and even
engaging in harmful behaviors, including attempting suicide (see Craig, 1998; Hinduja &
Patchin, 2000; Olafson & Viemero, 2000; Paquette & Underwood, 1999; Sharp, 1995). See
Case Study: Michelle Carter to read about a recent famous case involving relational aggression.

In theory, relational aggression could be a form of hostile aggression if, for example, the
behavior was impulsive and the only goal of the behavior was to harm the target. However, if
the ultimate goal of the behavior is to cause the target harm for some other purpose, such as
to raise the aggressors social standing, and this behavior was planned, then it can be consid-
ered instrumental aggression.

Spotlight: Exploring Criminality of Verbal Aggression
Is verbal aggression considered criminal behavior? While some may believe that verbal aggres-
sion cannot ever be labeled criminal due to First Amendment free-speech protections, there
are in fact some jurisdictions in which an individuals specific use of words spoken to another
person can be adjudicated criminal behavior. Generally speaking, this falls under malicious
harassment criminal codes that include physical aggression as well as verbal aggression. For
example, in the state of Washington, individuals convicted of malicious harassment can face up
to 5 years in prison and be fined up to $10,000. (Visit the following link for more information
regarding the states legal code for this specific crime:

Visit the following link to read about some situations in which verbal aggression can legally be
considered criminal:

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Section 6.4 Psychological Theories of Aggression

6.4 Psychological Theories of Aggression
Discovering where aggression originates is a topic of great debate among psychologists and
other social scientists. Is aggressive behavior learned or inherited? The topic of aggression is
another dimension of the nature-versus-nurture debate, and psychologists have developed
various theoretical perspectives based on their own area of interest.

Aggressive behavior is also studied in disciplines outside of psychology, including from a
sociological and criminological perspective. However, psychological theories of aggression
inform sociological and criminological research on aggression and provide the foundation
for understanding related factors. The question at the heart of examining aggression, includ-
ing violence, is whether the underlying catalyst is dispositional (biological) or situational
(learned). The research on the biological underpinnings of aggression shows that there is
some validity to the idea that aggressive behavior is innate. In this section, we explore the
major theories of aggression from biological and evolutionary perspectives.

Case Study: Michelle Carter
Teenagers Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy III were in a long-distance relationship for 2 years.
Roy lived in a verbally and physically abusive home and had attempted suicide previously. In
July 2014 Carter sent Roy a series of text messages over a 2-week period encouraging him to
just do it already.

Roy got into his pickup truck, drove to a local empty parking lot, and turned on the generator
he brought with him to produce carbon monoxide poisoning. As the truck filled with the poi-
sonous gas, Roy got scared and jumped out of the truck. He called Carter, who told him to get
back into the truck and do it. Carter never called for help, nor did she admit to anyone that she
had spoken to him twice while he was in the midst of carrying out his suicide.

Carter instead publicly mourned Roys death and seemed to revel in the attention she received
as the grieving girlfriend. She even comforted Roys mother and seemed to enjoy the attention
the Roy family gave her for being such a caring friend to Conrad. When the text messages
were discovered on Roys phone, however, police arrested Carter, and she was charged with
manslaughter for effectively bullying Roy into suicide.

There has never been any evidence produced to suggest that Carter was angry with Roy, and
because they appeared to get along well with one another, Carters behavior does not fall under
the category of hostile aggression. This type of relational aggression can be categorized as
instrumental aggression. That is, it seems that the text message evidence supports the states
position that Carters goal was to gain attention and sympathy as the grieving girlfriend. The
harm Carter caused Roy was a means to an end, with the end being basking in expressions of
sympathy from friends, family, and the community.

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Section 6.4 Psychological Theories of Aggression

Psychoanalytic/Freudian Theory of Aggression
Sigmund Freud created psychoanalysis, and thus this perspective is often referred to as Freud-
ian theory (used interchangeably with the phrase psychoanalytic theory). The psychoanalytic
view of aggression is that it is biological in nature. That is, Freuds position was that humans
are born with two distinct drives: life instinct and death instinct. Freud hypothesized
that these two drives often compete against one another in our subconscious minds and that
aggression occurs as a result of the conflict between the two opposing innate desires to either
live or die. Therefore, Freud believed that aggression represents the deflection of the death
instinct onto others. It is an interesting idea, but it has not been validated because psycholo-
gists have yet to determine a way to verify the existence of an unconscious mind.

From a criminal behavior perspective, Freuds colleague Josef Breuer believed that cathar-
sis was required to relieve the unconscious internal conflict between the desire to live and

the desire to die. Catharsis is the process
of releasing or purging repressed emotions.
For example, a psychologist may advise a cli-
ent to find a constructive outlet to release
pent-up aggression. This release can occur
in a direct manner, or it can be accomplished
indirectly by engaging in psychotherapy and/
or enjoyable activities that provide a release
of the stress and anxiety that are thought to
be triggers to aggression. (Zillmann, Katcher,
and Milavsky [1972] found that engaging in
physical exercise as a constructive outlet may
actually increase aggression in some situ-
ations, thereby contradicting the idea that
catharsis via physical exercise may be effec-
tive at reducing aggression.)

FrustrationAggression Hypothesis
Dollard, Doob, Miller, Mowrer, and Sears (1939) carried on the psychoanalytic tradition after
Freuds death and asserted that aggression will always occur as a result of experiencing frus-
tration. Dollard et al. called this perspective the frustrationaggression hypothesis. Psy-
chologists were challenged to provide this hypothesis using the scientific method because
there seemed to be a significant level of disagreement among the relevant scientific commu-
nity regarding the concepts of frustration and aggression.

Despite a lack of scientific validity in the frustrationaggression hypothesis, psychologists
continued to try to perfect the theory. Berkowitz (1969) later revised the frustration
aggression hypothesis by asserting that although frustration may precede aggression, there
are other factors that may also precede aggressive behavior, such as pain, a heightened
state of arousal, and more.

dislentev/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Pent-up aggression requires some form of
release or outlet. A healthy way to release
aggression is by practicing a relaxing,
enjoyable activity such as yoga at sunset.

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Section 6.4 Psychological Theories of Aggression

Excitation Transfer Theory
Social psychology researchers have found that arousal can lead to increased aggression as
well. For example, Zillmann et al. (1972) examined whether instigating physiological arousal
would lead to aggression. The researchers hypothesized that when one individual believes
he or she is receiving an electric shock by another and then assigned to engage in either
high- or low-intensity exercise, the target would experience a heightened state of physiologi-
cal arousal that would later lead to aggression.

These findings were confirmed in a later study by Zillmann (1988) when he examined
whether physiological arousal had the potential to elicit aggression in any context. Zillmann
found that even without being instigated, simply exercising would induce a heightened state
of physiological arousal that could lead to later aggressive behavior. For example, if a partici-
pant engaged in high-intensity exercise and then a short period later was exposed to some
minor annoyance that might otherwise be ignored, the heightened physiological arousal from
exercising may lead the person (no matter what gender) to behave aggressively toward the
source of the annoyance. Zillmann referred to this phenomenon as excitation transfer the-
ory, which is the theory that regardless of how physiological arousal is produced, the height-
ened state of arousal dissipates slowly, is not situation specific, and thus can generalize to
other situations, resulting in aggression.

For example, imagine a salesperson who goes out for a run prior to work and thus becomes
physiologically aroused from the exercise. When she arrives at work, she is called into her
managers office, where she is asked to work a little harder to increase sales productivity for
that month. The salesperson becomes verbally aggressive and lashes out at her manager. This
occurs despite the fact that the sales manager typically asks staff to increase productivity to
meet certain sales goals. In this case the salespersons physiological arousal was still high by
the time she arrived at work; this arousal generalized to the sales manager when a simple
request was made.

Evolutionary Theory of Aggression
Evolutionary psychologists hypothesize that aggression developed as a means of helping
our species survive and thrive; thus, it is biological in nature. Buss and Shackelford (1997)
attempted to account for aggression from an evolutionary perspective and identified vari-
ous adaptive issues that may explain the historical development of aggressive behavior in

One issue the researchers proposed was taking others resources when resources were
scarce. For example, there was a time when humans had to hunt for food in order to survive.
Resources may have been limited, leading to competition among other humans; aggression
resulted as a means of scaring off or even eliminating competition in order to keep oneself
and ones family nourished. In addition to securing necessary survival resources, aggression
was useful to bolster ones social status by demonstrating strength that was perceived as

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Section 6.5 Learning Theories of Aggression

Buss and Shackelford (1997) further suggested that aggression may also have evolved as the
result of attempting to prevent infidelity, thereby reducing the likelihood that resources may
be depleted by unrelated offspring. This particular adaptive problem of raising anothers off-
spring has found some support in statistics that suggest that in homes where there is a step-
parent, stepchildren are anywhere from 40 to 100 times more likely to be killed or maimed
by that stepparent (Daly & Wilson, 2001). This is referred to as the Cinderella effect, based
on the fairy tale in which the ugly stepmother treats Cinderella, her stepdaughter, horribly
compared to her own daughters. The Cinderella effect is the evolutionary psychology phe-
nomenon that posits that the prevalence of child abuse perpetrated by stepparents on their
stepchildren is significantly higher than that perpetrated by biological parents on their own
children (Daly & Wilson, 2001). This type of aggression may represent criminal behavior,


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