Although there is considerable amount of research on the subject of human aggression, these studies are mainly scattered. Using the general aggression model (GAM), the review posits cognition, affect, and arousal to meditate the effects of situational and personological variables on aggression.
The review also organizes the recent theories of development and persistence of aggressive personality and gave a brief summary of each theory. The review initially offers some basic definitions of human aggression and then goes on to describe general aggression models into a framework to make the study of aggression more systematic and structured.The review in the later section addresses the issue of inputs, routes, and outcome of aggression, explaining at the same time recent advances in aggression research. Overview There are five main theories of aggression which are used in most research in aggression. However, Anderson and Bushman in this review paper explain that these theories mostly overlap and need to be integrated into a single framework.
For this, firstly, these five theories are briefly explained and then the authors went on to construct the General Aggression Model (GAM).While constructing the model, Anderson et al eliminated the “affective” part of earlier “General Affective Aggression Model” and based their GAM model on new and broadening definition of proximate and ultimate goals of aggression. While developing the GAM, the authors relied on the development and use of knowledge structures for perception, interpretation, decision making, and action. The model has taken into account some key features of knowledge structures.
The model is based on the assumptions that knowledge structures develops and builds on experience, and it influences perceptions at multiple level and can be automatized with constant use. Also, knowledge structure is assumed to contain affective states, behavioral programs and beliefs and these in turn guide people’s interpretation and behavioral response to social environment. The GAM also takes into consideration three sub types of knowledge structures namely perceptual schemata, person schemata, and behavioral script.The main foci of the GAM concerns persons and situation inputs, cognitive, affective and arousal routes through which these input variables have their impact. The GAM goes on to focus on a list of personological and situational input variables as casual factors influencing aggressive behavior and GAM indicates the types of underlying processes in each of these variables to see their links with aggressive behavior.
The GAM proceeds to identify and analyze personal factors like personality, traits, gender difference, attitude, generic predispositions, values, beliefs etc, which influences aggressive behavior.Affect of situational factors are dwelt upon in the model and cognition, affect and arousal as factors influencing aggression is discussed briefly. The model later proceeded to show the interconnectedness of these three routes, i. e. , how input enters into appraisal and decision processes through their affect on cognition, affect and arousal.
Findings of research According to the GAM model, input variables, routes, and outcomes cyclically interact to affect aggression. Input variables are composed of person and situational variables.Person variables refer to person based characteristics that determine an individual’s overall preparedness to act aggressively. Aggression related general predisposition, personality characteristics, scripts, attitudes, belief systems are included within the person variable. In fact, person variables are stable aspects of an individual’s personality, thoughts and feelings that are bought into new situations.
On the other hand, situation variable is composed of the physical environment the individual is currently in along with any interaction taking place within that environment.The route from input variable to aggressive action goes through an individual’s present internal state which is composed of cognition, affect and arousal. Appraisal and decision making process include impulsive and thoughtful action. Violent entertainment functions as a situational variable, result in an increase in aggressive cognitions, affects and arousal. In the long term, violent entertainment is hypothesized to influence aggressive behavior by altering aggressive beliefs, attitudes, scripts and expectations. Personal opinion Like any good theory, the General Aggression Model (GAM) is a work in progress.
It is an interactive model in several ways. Firstly GAM is largely predicted on the ubiquity of social encounters of the person with his or her social environment. Secondly, GAM illustrates dynamic underlying interaction between situational and personological variables.
Thirdly, GAM explicitly incorporates biological factors as they interact with environmental factors to influence the preparedness of individual to aggress within specific context. Most importantly, GAM includes a structure that explicates how multiple level of violent related factors operate on the individual.GAM is found to be an explicitly causal model which specifies that violent aggressive behavior is caused by the conjunction of numerous converging risk factors.
Interesting finding and why In this article, the causal role of anger and aggressive behavior is found to be interesting as anger is thought to provide justification for aggressive behavior. This is particularly true as people lose their sense of reasoning while in anger, affecting their process of judgment of a particular situation. When coherent and logical thought process is interfered due to anger, any instigating factor can lead to violent aggressive behavior.This is more apt in cases of racial riots, religious riots and communal riots. The model also recognizes the futility of changing a person with aggressive behavior with the passage of time. Because it is a fact that old habit dies hard, and an inherently aggressive person would be difficult to be tamed at a later age as the behavior becomes deeply rooted to his psyche. Conclusion General Aggression Model (GAM) developed by Anderson and Bushman by integrating the mini models of aggression made an important contribution in the field of aggression research.
The model put together the scattered theories and put them into a unified system called the GAM and organized the mini theories related to aggressive personality behavior. The model acted as a guiding light in the field of aggression research, suggesting important steps for future research to fill the current theoretical gaps. The GAM which is a theory based aggression research can help creating and testing different intervention strategies to reduce aggressive behavior and is a unique contribution to the society by way of providing a renewed understanding about the causes of violent and aggressive behavior.Researchers studying different types of aggressive behavior would be benefited greatly by the unified the GAM.
Overall opinion on the article The article has reviewed the efficacy of the GAM and goes on to analyze the mini theories of aggression and their important aspects. The authors go on to explain how personal and situational input variables act as a causal factor influencing aggressive behavior. As elucidated in the article, the GAM posits the presence of two appraisal processes that influences the decisions to aggress.Immediate appraisal involves automatic, spontaneous, and unconscious interpretation of the information coming from one’s present internal state whereas reappraisal involves searching for an alternative view of the situation. After explaining the causative factors of aggression, the article goes on to explain that the GAM accounted for facts that aggressive individuals are difficult to change once they grow older and the rehabilitation measures do not all the time address wide range of factors leading to aggressive behavior.
From this review paper, it can be deduced with conviction that the GAM which comprehensively integrates central elements from several earlier aggression theories may be considered the most comprehensive theory of aggression till date. Recommendations which might have improved the article In this article, while reviewing the GAM, the authors while taking into account the mini theories of aggression and their process of integration in the model, did not focus on policy implication of the model which would have make the review all the more appealing.The GAM has numerous public policy implications, both nationally and internationally. The importance of the General Aggregate Model (GAM) could have been emphasizing by stating how it could act as a guide for international political action in the face of conflict between nations and between diparate groups within nations.
Focusing on these contemporary issues would have lent more credence to the model.