Which came first- the chicken or the egg?

So many people and theorists discuss anger, aggression, violence and rage. And we have theories as a result that include a lot of factors that explain why this person in front of you is angry + and you are reacting to them as you are.

Everything from nature, to nurture. Psychological to social. * Is it because they’re poor/rich?

  • Or young and haven’t learned their coping skills for their moods yet?
  • Is it because they watched too many FPS games?
  • Or played contact sports?
  • Did they seek out those activities because they were angry? Or did the activities teach them how to be?
  • Was it due to the drugs or alcohol they took?
  • Or a poor diet?
  • Did they have a seizure of some form?

TBH, there is no one golden answer as yet. There is a “suite” of possible things that can influence how you think, feel, act and how responsible you are for your own behaviour. Which is why it takes a forensic psychiatrist to determine how “sane” you are when you get arrested under the mental health act or the criminal code. To answer the question of why you specifically are angry and what you are likely to do with that anger. How safe are you to be around and to roam free?

But at least we have defined the words a bit better. So you can at least be angry without feeling like you’re about to get arrested. Because there is a difference between feeling, thinking something and doing something about it. And an even larger leap before your feeling or thought causes harm.



anger, aggression and violence are different things


the warrior gene
identical twin studies
Aggression can be inherited from parents.

neurotransmitters and aggression

Independently scored history of aggressive behavior showed a significant negative correlation with 5HIAA (r = -0.78) and a significant positive correlation with MHPG (r = 0.64).

pre-frontal cortex, amygdala
partial seizures



There are different factors that trigger our aggressive behaviours.

Biological factors
Genetic influences

Twin studies who that genes influence aggression in human. If one identical twin admits to being aggressive, the other twin often admits the same. Researchers are working on finding the “violent” gene.

Neural influences

The frontal lobe in our brain can inhibit aggression. People with damaged frontal lobe often have difficulty controlling their aggressive behaviours.

Biochemical influences

Hormones, drugs and alcohols affect the neural system’s ability to control aggression.

Psychological factors
Undesirable events and stimuli

The frustration-aggression principle suggests that suffering and the ability to reach our goals increase our readiness to aggress. Studies also show that undesirable stimuli such as hot temperatures, crowded space, long lineups, physical pain, etc, also evoke aggression.

Social and cultural factors

We are more likely to react aggressively if experience has showed us that aggression will get us what we want. For example, children who were able to get what they wanted by acting aggressively may become more aggressive (bully).

Rejection can also trigger aggression. Studies by Jean Twenge had shown that people who were led to feel socially excluded were more likely to act aggressively towards the “in crowd”. For example, school shootings were often committed by students who were rejected by others.

The social learning theory suggests that people learn by observation. Children with aggressive parents are more likely to act aggressively.

Different types of aggression
There are basically 2 types of aggression:

Active aggression

Physical aggression

A physically aggressive person uses weapons or bare hands to harm another person physically. This person may punch another person in the face or cut someone with a knife.

Verbal aggression

A verbally aggressive person humiliates other people verbally. Examples: yelling at other people using foul language, name calling, etc.

Passive aggression

Gestural aggression

These people show their aggression using body language such as staring at the targeted person, punching fist against their own hand while looking at the person, lip movements, etc.

Ignore or avoidance

Some people choose to give another person the “silent treatment”. They do not acknowledge the presence of the other person. Believe it or not, this is also considered a type of aggressive behaviour.



two forms of aggression –
The first form is called “affective,” “reactive,” “defensive,” “impulsive,” or “hot-blooded” aggression. This type of aggression is defined as a violent response to physical or verbal aggression initiated by others that is relatively uncontrolled and emotionally charged. In contrast, the second form of aggression is referred to as “predatory,” “instrumental,” “proactive,” or “cold-blooded” aggression. This type of aggression is characterized as controlled, purposeful aggression lacking in emotion that is used to achieve a desired goal, including the domination and control of others


The amygdala has been shown to be an area that causes aggression.

Stimulation of the amygdala results in augmented aggressive behavior, while lesions of this area greatly reduce one’s competitive drive and aggression.

Another area, the hypothalamus, is believed to serve a regulatory role in aggression.

The hypothalamus has been shown to cause aggressive behavior when electrically stimulated but more importantly has receptors that help determine aggression levels based on their interactions with the neurotransmitters serotonin and vasopressin.


When most people think of aggression, they think of road rage, physical fights, and violent crime. However, not all aggression is bad. Aggression is adaptive, helping people and animals alike to guard their homes from intruders and protect their children from threats. Problems arise when aggression is taken too far, escalating abnormally and becoming violent.


The three aggression types comprised reactive-expressive (i.e., verbal and physical aggression), reactive-inexpressive (e.g., hostility), and proactive-relational aggression (i.e., aggression that can break human relationships, for instance, by circulating malicious rumours).

Albert Bandura- children act out what they see

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s