The instinct theory of aggression is a psychological theory that states that aggression is an innate, biological drive that is present in all humans. This theory was first proposed by Sigmund Freud in his book Beyond the Pleasure Principle, published in 1920.
Freud believed that there are two basic instincts that drive human behavior: the life instinct (eros) and the death instinct (Thanatos). The life instinct is responsible for all of our positive, life-affirming behaviors, such as love, reproduction, and creativity. The death instinct, on the other hand, is responsible for all of our negative, destructive behaviors, such as aggression, violence, and war.
Freud believed that the death instinct is always present in all humans, but that it is usually kept in check by the life instinct. However, there are times when the death instinct can become too strong, leading to aggressive or violent behavior.
There are a number of factors that can contribute to the activation of the death instinct, including:
- Frustration or anger
- Fear or anxiety
- Feeling threatened or attacked
- Feeling helpless or powerless
- Experiencing pain or suffering
- Exposure to violence or aggression
The instinct theory of aggression has been supported by a number of studies, including:
- A study by Lorenz (1966) found that aggression is a common behavior in many different species of animals, including humans.
- A study by Berkowitz (1962) found that frustration can lead to aggression.
- A study by Bandura (1973) found that exposure to violence can increase the likelihood of aggression.
While the instinct theory of aggression is a well-supported theory, it is important to note that it is not the only explanation for aggression. There are a number of other factors that can contribute to aggression, including environmental factors, such as poverty and discrimination, and psychological factors, such as personality disorders and mental illness.
It is also important to note that the instinct theory of aggression does not mean that aggression is inevitable. There are a number of things that can be done to reduce aggression, such as:
- Teaching children nonviolent conflict resolution skills
- Providing people with positive outlets for their aggression, such as sports or exercise
- Addressing the root causes of aggression, such as poverty and discrimination
- Providing people with mental health treatment for psychological problems that contribute to aggression.
The instinct theory of aggression is an important theory that can help us to understand the causes of aggression and to develop effective strategies for reducing it.
The instinct theory of aggression, as put forward by Sigmund Freud, posits that aggression is an innate biological drive that is in the same category as the drives that are related to sex or hunger.
They are instinctual and automatic; we are born with these drives and must adapt as a means to control them. Aggression is used as a means of maintaining and defending territory: basically, as a means of survival both in humans and in animals. Human society regards these traits as elements that need to be controlled and channeled for the good of society so that we don’t descend into animalistic chaos. One controversial hypothesis suggests that sports serve as an outlet for these drives.