Posted: October 3rd, 2023
PSY-331-1AO71 The General Aggression Model
PSY-331-1AO71 Theories of Personality Discussion Question 1
1Discuss the general aggression model proposed by cognitive researchers. What are the components? Give an example of your own of an aggressive response you have recently made and provide an explanation from the model, including all the components.
Type: Threaded format 75-150 words
Discussion Question 2
How does the negative (depressive) schema work? Explain how negative thoughts are related to depressing feelings and contrast the outlook on life between most normal people and depressed individuals.
Type: Threaded format 75- 150 words
Chapter 15: The Cognitive Approach: Theory, Application, and Assessment (Burger)
Chapter 16: The Cognitive Approach: Relevant Research (Burger)
By Burger, Jerry M.Edition : 10TH 19Publisher : CENGAGE LISBN 13 : 9781337559010
The General Aggression Model
The general aggression model (GAM) proposed by cognitive researchers Anderson and Bushman in 2002 provides a comprehensive framework for understanding aggressive behavior. At its core, the GAM posits that aggression arises from a complex interplay between person and situational factors. There are three main components to the model: inputs, routes, and outcomes.
Inputs refer to the various personal and situational factors that can influence aggression. On the personal side, inputs include one’s biological and genetic predispositions, personality traits like trait anger and hostility, and learned experiences such as being exposed to violence as a child. Situational inputs encompass environmental and contextual elements like the presence of weapons, high temperatures, loud noises, alcohol consumption, provocation or frustration from others, and exposure to violent media (Anderson & Bushman, 2002).
The second component, routes, describes the cognitive, emotional, and physiological processes that transform inputs into outcomes. When a person encounters an anger-provoking situation, they first appraise or evaluate the event. This appraisal is influenced by their stable and transient risk and protective factors. If the event is deemed threatening or frustrating, it can trigger a cascade of effects including physiological arousal, negative emotions like anger, hostile thoughts, and aggressive scripts or plans (Anderson & Bushman, 2002).
The third and final component is outcomes, which refers to the possible consequences of aggression. These outcomes can be short or long-term and can occur at the individual, relationship, or societal levels. Examples include physical or psychological harm to victims, legal and financial costs to aggressors, damage to relationships, and the perpetuation of a cycle of violence in communities (Anderson & Bushman, 2002).
To illustrate how the GAM applies to real-world situations, consider a recent aggressive response I had while driving. I was running late to an appointment and became frustrated when the car in front of me was driving slowly in the passing lane, preventing others from overtaking. When they failed to move over after I flashed my lights, I angrily honked and made an obscene hand gesture. In this example:
The inputs were my time constraint (situational) and trait impatience/anger issues (personal)
The routes involved appraising the situation as threatening/frustrating, which led to physiological arousal, anger emotions, and hostile thoughts about the other driver
The outcome was an aggressive response (honking, gesture) that could have escalated the conflict and endangered safety on the road
By breaking down aggressive behaviors into these components, the GAM provides a useful framework for understanding the antecedents and processes involved in human aggression. It highlights how both internal and external factors interact to influence outcomes through cognitive and emotional pathways. The model has received empirical support and continues to guide research on aggression and violence.
Negative Schemas and Depression
According to cognitive theories of depression, negative schemas play a central role in the development and maintenance of depressive symptoms. A schema refers to a cognitive framework or concept that helps organize and interpret information. Depressed individuals are believed to hold dysfunctional negative schemas about themselves, the world, and the future (Beck, 1967). These schemas involve themes of worthlessness, failure, loss, and punishment.
When activated by negative life events or internal thoughts, negative schemas bias information processing in a negative or pessimistic direction (Beck, 1967). Depressed people tend to make negative inferences and interpretations about the causes, meanings, and implications of events. For example, receiving a low grade on an exam might be seen as proof of one’s incompetence rather than an isolated incident. Negative schemas also lead to negatively distorted thoughts, such as “I always mess everything up” or “Nothing good will ever happen to me.”
In contrast, most non-depressed individuals hold more balanced, flexible schemas. When faced with the same negative event, a normal person is less likely to make overly negative attributions and generalizations. They can consider alternative explanations and maintain a more optimistic outlook. For example, a non-depressed student may view a low grade as a temporary setback that they can learn from rather than a sign of permanent failure.
The activation of negative schemas is believed to directly influence mood and behavior through cognitive and physiological pathways (Beck, 1967). Pessimistic thoughts fuel depressive feelings like sadness, guilt, and worthlessness. In turn, depressive symptoms motivate behaviors aimed at escaping or avoiding perceived threats, such as social withdrawal and inactivity. This perpetuates the depressive cycle as people receive less positive feedback and reinforcement. Cognitive theories emphasize changing negative schemas through techniques like cognitive restructuring as a key part of treating depression.
In summary, the negative schema model provides a cognitive explanation for how depressed thinking develops and why depressed individuals view themselves, the world, and the future in overly negative terms. It highlights the role of dysfunctional beliefs in both the onset and maintenance of depressive symptoms. Understanding negative schemas can help clinicians identify and modify the distorted thought patterns underlying depression.
Anderson, C. A., & Bushman, B. J. (2002). Human aggression. Annual review of psychology, 53, 27-51.
Beck, A. T. (1967). Depression: Clinical, experimental, and theoretical aspects. Harper & Row.
Burger, J. M. (2019). Personality (10th ed.). Cengage Learning.