The concept of aggressiveness is very broad because it can refer to a diverse variety of violent acts . It should be considered that aggressiveness is generated differently between humans and animals, in the latter it can be observed in situations where it is necessary to guarantee self-protection and survival. All species are prone to displaying this type of behavior, especially when it comes to counterattacking an adversary.
In psychology, the study of aggressiveness is based on a series of behaviors that are aimed at creating some type of damage. It manifests itself in individuals who have selected others as the target of their actions. However, aggressiveness is also defined as an impulse, which can be influenced by environmental or social factors , in some cases the origin is found in biological factors.
What is aggressiveness?
Aggression arises as an adaptive or defensive response . This is an automatic behavior that responds to certain external stimuli, which implies that others are also inhibited over which there is greater control. Aggression has always been defined as a part of the personality that shows the defensive and adaptive side of the individual decade.
On the other hand, violence is seen as an aggressiveness but it is “altered”, this means that it depends on certain social and cultural aspects . It could even be affirmed that it is an event that occurs in a group or in a community , each person reacts to how a series of aggressive events is being generated in their environment. Violence then becomes a behavior that is conscious, intentional and that could be aimed at causing specific harm.
Aggression is defined as an emotional state in which hatred and wishes to cause harm are combined. It can be any type of behavior expressed by actions that have physical or psychological consequences . It is a determining factor of behavior, usually each person shows to be aggressive at certain times; represents being a particular response.
It could be the result of the need to protect oneself , it has been proposed that it is a mental factor that has developed because of the need to guarantee survival. The individual endeavors to perform whatever action is necessary to avoid harm from an adversary or imminent danger.
To define what aggressiveness is from the point of view of psychology, various theories of behavior have been formulated . They all agree that this is a common aspect of people who lead a life marked by violence. Both terms have been used synonymously, however both phenomena present their own peculiarities.
It is important to distinguish that in both aspects as differentiated as intentionality and the part inherited by biology prevail. It is taken into account that the elements of character that are partly a social result also influence .
What are their characteristics?
Aggression is a behavior that shows clear and precise characteristics that allow its identification. Most psychological studies coincide in stating that it usually occurs in personalities that are more prone to developing it , some individuals may never show such behavior.
The main characteristics that define people who have aggressiveness as part of their personality are described below. In some cases variations of these same symptoms may occur , no case is the same as another but there are some similarities. They are as follows:
- There is a lack of empathy and difficulty understanding other people. It is one of the most distinctive personality traits of aggressiveness, they are people who are unable to experience other people’s feelings and problems for themselves.
- Irritability and displeasure are some aspects of behavior, they can be reflected when talking or doing certain activities. It is possible to identify why the person shows to lose control quickly, it could apply to any daily situation that represents frustration.
- Sarcasm is used regularly , thus disguising criticism for compliments. It is common to apply this methodology to be able to insult or criticize secretly, they usually excuse themselves by stating that their statements have been misinterpreted.
- There is a tendency to external attributions , that is, they are people who blame others for their own mistakes. They can attribute responsibility for their own actions to anyone, which implies that there is no acceptance of the consequences.
- Social manipulation usually occurs in aggressive people, there is a need to maintain control over the people who are being victims .
- Aggressive people tend to postpone the completion or start of certain projects, the activities of which they are in charge can be forgotten. They are people who prefer to give importance to those activities that can offer them their own benefit. It could be related to some type of punishment for assigning them obligations that they do not want to have.
- It tends to show poor performance , the execution of any activity means that you are working against your will. Aggressive people will try to avoid or transfer these tasks.
- There is hostility and defensive behavior , this is a way of acting that is related to facing difficult situations in the face of which it is not known how to interact. Aggressive people often have difficulty expressing their own ideas and emotions , preferring to maintain a hostile attitude which would prevent other individuals from hurting them.
- It is difficult to convince or persuade aggressive people, they respond in a better way to the same aggressiveness. Therefore, on certain occasions, due to their stubbornness, they will require some pressure to make them change their minds.
- They tend to think that they do not have the appreciation of others, aggressive behavior could be a reaction to this perception. This is a situation that creates conflicts because they could be wrong about this statement and decide to increase their aggressiveness. Emotional and affective deficiencies often manifest themselves in this way.
- There is resentment at the impossibility of expressing feelings , there are difficulties in maintaining fluid communication with other people. Aggressive people believe that they are not important to their relatives or close people.
How is it identified?
Aggression is usually perceptible through verbal and gestural expressions that clearly have an aggressive intention. It is usually related to verbal offenses such as name calling and rudeness. The same happens with provocation or threats, in a generalized way any action that shows disrespect is taken into account.
Certain observable signs allow us to identify the state of tension that is typical of aggressiveness. Some of these indicators could be the change in body temperature influencing the generation of sweating, this can begin to appear in the hands for example. It also increases the heart rate and the rate of respiration, even the gaze changes and the tone of the voice.
Aggressive responses automatically arise such as holding hands, this gesture is a clear indication that you are willing to carry out a confrontation through physical blows . In these cases it is necessary to distance yourself to avoid being in a vulnerable situation to suffer bodily harm.
Aggression turns out to be an impulsive behavior that is the result of an unforeseen emotional discharge . Certain capacities are distorted that in a normal state are common like the one of the judgment. Certain acts are committed of which one is not fully aware, even the present time and reality are distorted.
There are also other easy-to-detect attitudes such as tantrums , arguments , resistance to authority, defiant behavior , stealing, and any type of physical act that is classified as assault or assault. Certain behavioral disorders are present during these situations affecting performance, because they can intensify over time.
He shows destructive behavior towards other people and himself. Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder are also related, both are manifested by showing impulsivity and inattention. The disciplinary problems are typical of children and adolescents in adulthood there are conflicts even affect the long – term identity.
Another way to identify it is through neuropsychology, certain areas or regions of the brain have been identified that have been associated with aggressiveness. Specifically it is the region called “locus niger”, this is where a mechanism that unleashes the state of cholera is born. According to these investigations, some neuron formations when stimulated are responsible for the aggressive state.
The central region of the brain is where primitive rabies is generated . It arises when the posterior hypothalamus is stimulated, particularly in the tonsil nuclei and other structures of the hippocampus. The explanation is not entirely conclusive but it is a method that allows identifying aggressive behaviors according to these brain variations .
In certain social contexts, aggressiveness could be seen as a neutral behavior. Understanding it in another way, aggressiveness is not always going to manifest itself through behavior that is easy to identify by observation. In these cases it is important to analyze in depth certain manifestations that can be perceived through language , both verbally and implicitly.
It should be considered that aggressiveness establishes conflictive relationships between people , sometimes aggressive situations are generated that show nuances that gradually evolve. Aggression increases its intensity and each aggressive action of the behavior will leave more serious consequences for not acting in a timely manner.
How is it generated?
The way in which aggressiveness is generated has been tried to explain with different theories. One of them establishes that it depends on the character and is intentional, others focus their attention on analyzing the negative influences of the environment. In the same way, individual psychological processes have been studied , as well as the social processes that may be involved.
There are various reasons why aggressive behavior can be generated, in the same way it happens with the factors that can incite it. Stress is often mentioned as one of the main stimulants , anxiety and depression are also related to it .
Some mental disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolarity, conduct disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity; all have been linked to aggressiveness. Some studies have made it possible to associate alcohol abuse and abstinence from narcotic substances as other causes. It could be said that any situation or emotional state that pushes the person to the limit will cause aggressive behavior to be generated.
A theory proposes biological and instinctive reasons . In this case, aggressiveness could be explained by certain elements found within the person, it could be a survival instinct. It could be an adaptive process, which develops as a result of the various experiences lived throughout life. Then the person gets used to acting in this way and there are few possibilities to modify this response.
Certain biological factors could influence the psychological state of individuals, evolutionary theories have always established instinct as the origin of aggressiveness. According to Freud’s psychoanalysis, there is talk of a drive or an instinct that is added to other qualities of the personality.
Regarding explanations based on environmental elements, it is proposed that aggression is the result of a complex learning process . Here are grouped several factors that are a consequence of certain experiences that are related to violent events. So each person in the future will always relate these facts to others, reacting in the same way.
The frustration could be generated from the impossibility of not being able to carry out a certain action that had previously been planned. Then by impulse you begin to have an aggressive attitude that is difficult to control. People who are not very tolerant of being antagonized and not being able to fulfill their objectives are prone to being aggressive.
There is also the theory of social learning, aggressiveness is related to behaviorism . The cause of this behavior is associated with a certain stimulus that reinforces this reaction by being related to a specific element. Understanding it in another way, this is a learning that starts from an operant conditioning , a stimulus will always show the same response in behavior.
Aggression could be learned by imitation or by assimilating certain other people’s behaviors as one’s own. According to the theories that propose this possibility, this is a mechanism that is made up of two processes. The first of them is based on the execution of mental actions such as logic and social communication skills .
Social psychological processes must also be considered . Each person will act according to how others interact with them, consequently a corresponding behavior is obtained. However, we must pay attention to those behaviors that depend on certain sociocultural norms that could violate them.
Tips to change this emotional state
Because aggressiveness is an impulsive response and is usually described as uncontrollable, certain aspects of the personality could be decisive in the generation of aggressiveness. That is, violent behavior can be the result of frustration , people manifest themselves in this way when they feel that they are not able to achieve their objectives.
In the case of psychological disorders, which are some of the most common causes, medical attention is recommended . People suffering from depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and more; In all these cases, it is recommended to have the assistance of specialists who can help with aggressive outbreaks.
In the case of non-psychological disorders such as migraines, epilepsy, muscle aches, cerebrovascular accidents and other physical ailments; One of the collateral reactions is to begin to develop aggressive behaviors, given the impossibility of continuing to tolerate these conditions.
Some treatments consist of the administration of medications , such as low doses of antidepressants, to control symptoms. You can also use treatments based on behavioral therapies , in psychiatry different methods of this type have been developed that are adapted to different diagnoses.
It is considered that all repressed feelings can generate a violent reaction that can eventually increase in intensity. Erratic and even aggressive behavior begins to manifest. For certain individuals these actions are part of a vicious circle that is constantly experienced, in these cases it is recommended to take measures in this regard to prevent it from continuing to happen.
It is always recommended that people try to maintain a behavior that is appropriate to the circumstances. Certain individuals have violent reactions that are not adjusted to the circumstances, it can be described as disproportionate or excessive reactions .
It is important that people begin to better manage their reactions and decisions to problems and difficulties. When you have an attitude that corresponds appropriately to these same problems, you avoid having aggressiveness problems.
Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.