The reformulated frustrationaggression hypothesis

In 1939 an eminent group of psychologists, sociologists, and anthropologists published a small book in which they set out a theoretical framework for understanding frustration and aggression (Dollard, Doob, Miller, Mowrer, & Sears, 1939). Their basic thesis was as follows: (1) The occurrence of aggression presupposes the existence of frustration; and (2) the existence of frustration always leads to some form of aggression.

Dollard et al. defined frustation as "an interference with the occurrence of an instigated goal-response at its proper time in the behaviour sequence" (1939, p. 7). Aggression was defined as any behaviour for which the goal "is the injury of the person to whom it is directed" (p. 9). This original formulation of the frustrationaggression hypothesis had very little to say about anger. However, in a major reformulation Berkowitz (e.g., 1962) placed anger centre-stage. According to Berkowitz, frustration leads to anger which acts as a drive and heightens the probability of aggressive behaviour. That is to say, frustration is not the immediate cause of aggression; rather, it is mediated by anger. This reformulation represents a considerable departure from the initial arguments of Dollard et al. In this reanalysis, frustration need not necessarily lead to aggression, merely to anger. Berkowitz's first pass at the frustration-aggression hypothesis (1962) is represented schematically in Figure 8.1.

In these early theoretical writings, Berkowitz leads an attack on what he considers traditional attributional/appraisal views of anger (as revealed by the normative research reviewed in the first part of this chapter), by providing evidence that anger can be provoked when the action of an agent in thwarting or interrupting a goal is not deliberate, avoidable, or due to negligence. Furthermore, he cites evidence where the frustration of the goal has no recognisable human agent. As fully paid-up subscribers to the appraisal theory approach (see Chapter 5), we concur with Berkowitz that the evidence he cites does indeed knock over the straw man of a strong version of the appraisal theory of anger, in which anger can only result from an appraisal of a thwarted or interrupted goal with a recognisable agent and a judgement of deliberation, avoidability, or negligence. However, there are very few adherents to this strong appraisal view and the majority of people who find an appraisal approach useful in their understanding of anger would tend to endorse a much weaker version of the argument; for example, as exemplified by the partial analysis within SPAARS presented below. In this case, then, one could argue that Berkowitz is concentrating on the exceptions rather than the norms and we shall try to argue that this does not provide the most useful model of either anger order or anger disorder. More could be


Figure 8.1 A schematic diagram illustrating Berkowitz's original (1962) reformulation of the frustration-aggression hypothesis.

said about Berkowitz's early ideas; however, as he himself has revamped them, it seems more sensible to pass on.

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Exploring EFT

Exploring EFT

EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique. It works to free the user of both physical and emotional pain and relieve chronic conditions by healing the physical responses our bodies make after we've been hurt or experienced pain. While some people do not carry the effects of these experiences, others have bodies that hold onto these memories, which affect the way the body works. Because it is a free and fast technique, even if you are not one hundred percent committed to whether it works or not, it is still worth giving it a shot and seeing if there is any improvement.

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