Sports and Aggressive Behavior

Sport and aggressive behavior, Do sports create aggressive behavior, or
simply attract people who are already aggressive? Aggression and sport have
gone together as long as sports have been around, be it the players
themselves, to the parents, coaches, or spectators, they just seem to be an
inseparable part of each other. The term violence is defined as physical
assault based on total disregard for the well being of self and others, or the
intent to injure another person ( 2. Coakley). Intimidation usually does not
cause physical harm, but often is designed to produce psychological
consequences, enabling one person to physically over power or dominate
another. These statements as defined by the author, Jay J. Coakley, is what
people today have made a must part on sport. Pleasure and participation
sports absolutely cannot be grouped with power and performance sports
when in relation to aggression.Pleasure sports are simply played for pleasure.

Score is usually not kept. The athletes participating are usually on occasion
doing it for fun and exercise. A majority of athletes who have been playing
sports since they were little, have probably been pounded into their heads
that to be successful in sport, you need to be aggressive, and at some times,
unnecessary. Also that to get what you want, you have to go at it with all
force. Not that this is wrong but, this attitude in today’s society has been a
major problem factor to the athletes when they get older, to get into trouble
with the law. Those long-term effects of so called discipline, patterns
develops these destructive behaviors. (9. Montague) Although some people
are still in belief that aggressive behaviors in all forms, are grounded into
instincts, but they also relate these actions to sports. Their parents played,
who were known for their aggressive behavior, so the child feels that they
have to live up to that expectation.( 6. Storr) Athletes do have to be
aggressive to a point, so that the team can form a strategy to win. There is
also a limit to aggression when it turns into violence. People might say that it’s
not aggression or violence, it’s just adrenaline pumping. Adrenaline isn’t even
similar to violence. Aggression, maybe, but nothing that would be harmful to
anyone else. This might be a factor to why contact sports are so popular. For
example, football, hockey, rugby, wrestling, and boxing. Contrary to
predictions of instinct theory, several studies show that contact sports exist
and thrive in the same societies that have high rates of aggression and
violence. Unfortunately, another belief is that contact sports teach discipline,
self-respect, and self-defense. (8. May ) Contact sports aren’t a positive way
to teach these things. Being physically tough helps, but it also needs to be left
on the field when the game is over. This can also lead to the abuse of family,
girlfriends, boyfriends, friends, and any other person who gets in their “way”,
because athletes use these sports as a way to get their aggression and angers
out. ( 10. Hauser, Powers, Noam ) Other’s might argue that it’s skill, and not
in the least way violent. Although we really can’t give a straight and to the
point answer to the question “Is aggression an Instinct?” We can say that in
man, as in other animals, there exists a physiological mechanism, when
stimulated, it rises both subjective feelings of anger and to physical changes,
which relate to fighting. This is easily set off, and like other emotional
responses, it is very stereotyped, and instinctive. Just like one person is like a
very angry person; they resemble one another at the psychological level. The
way in which humans adapt to and control their feelings of rage. ( 5. Toch)
The mechanisms in which these body changes, the functions that come about
is still completely misunderstood. ( 5. Toch) Experiments from animal’s show
that it appears that there is a small area from the base of the brain in which
the feeling of anger starts. This, from which is sent to the nervous impulses
that cause the blood pressure to rise. This area is called the hypothalamus. Its
function is to coordinate responses like anger. ( 3 Diamond) The relationship
between anger, rage, and violence, and psychopathology that is abnormal, or
unnatural in human behavior and experience. People demonstrate their anger
reactions in different ways. Similar to most human behavior, violence has a
meaning that it only seems “senseless” or “meaningless” to the extent that we
are unable to understand it. Most violence starts the fiery human emotions of
anger and rage. Not all violent behavior has its origins in anger and rage;
some of it is learned, as mentioned before. Some violence is driven primarily
by as Friedrich Nietzsche referred as “the will to power”. In other words,
rage. ( 3. Diamond) Rage is an instinctual and defensive reaction to severe
stress, or physical threat. This is an automatic reflex that people share with
animals. This response to serious threat is referred to by Walter Cannon as
the “fight or flight” response. It’s the first defense for the survival of the
species. Any other threat to the continued physical existence, a person would
have the instinct to try to leave, or if they can’t, then physically defend them
by attacking the source of the threat. ( 7 . Hawkins, Fredman ) Relating to
the fact that men are more aggressive than women are, studies shown in
several cases those testosterone levels in young men especially are. The high
levels of endogenous testosterone seem to encourage behavior apparently
intended to dominate, to enhance one’s status over other people. ( 9.

Montague) Sometimes aggressive behavior is aggressive, it’s apparent intent
being to inflict harm on another person, but often dominance is expressed
nonaggressively. Measurement of testosterone at a single point in time
presumably indicator of a man’s basal testosterone level, predicts many of
these dominant behaviors. Numerous animal experiments, this one particular
to rodents, show that raising testosterone increases aggressiveness. This is in
relation to the dominance and antisocial behavior related to the individuals.

An individual can be said to act dominantly if it’s apparent intent is to achieve
or maintain high status, to obtain power influence, or valued prerogatives.

Rodents do typically dominate aggressively, but it isn’t true of humans. Much
of interpersonal behavior is overtly or subtly concerned with managing
dominance and subordination without causing physical harm. It is harder to
identify instances of aggression of a dominating motives, things related to
religious sacrifices. It is understood that motivations are different from
different situations for dominance and aggression. ( 1. Felson, Tedeschi)
Clinical science assumes that all men are capable of bloody destructiveness.

It maintains that image with most people who do away with their hatreds and,
and although There are some instances where this effort fails. Some people
are so shy about their aggressiveness that when they are provoked in the least
little way, they become so violent that they are unbearable. Even a slight
review of violent conduct suggests that violence isn’t blind, and random.

Members of fighting gangs are frequently nonviolent when separated from
their members. Many extremely dangerous people seem to specialize in
certain areas of victims. This is in relation to taking the aggressiveness off the
field. There is sometimes a relationship between being violent and being
socially improper. Violence usually takes place in certain circles, certain
settings, and on certain occasions. If violence is really blind and random, it’s
hard to understand why we should find so much in specific situations. Does a
man assault his wife rather than the athlete who messed up simply because
she’s available? Violence can’t be associated with angry explosions. There is
shape and form to violence. Patterns of destructiveness show consistently,
and they relay from person to person. As for each of us, violence seems to
be tied to a restricted range of life situations. It seems to reflect purpose, and
implies the presence of hidden meanings. So, how do we satisfy it? How is it
provoked? How do violent people function? (4. Stepansky) The level of
testosterone circulating in the bloodstream may affect dominating or
aggressive behavior by activating receptors in organs or the nervous system.

Focusing on young males who have passed through puberty. There are
associated reports that show a relatively high level of testosterone with
dominant, aggressive, or antisocial actors including several studies of men in
jail. The scientists found that no significant testosterone difference between
those who fought in prison, and those who did not, between the ages of 18 to
35. However, prisoners with a prior record of violence and aggression
related crimes, they had a significantly higher testosterone level than those
without a history. In the age group of 18to 45, sorted into the same groups,
those with chronic aggressive behavior, those socially dominant without
physical aggressiveness, and those who were neither aggressive or dominant,
their testosterone levels were not significantly different between the aggressive
and dominant groups, but they also had significantly higher testosterone than
the group that was either aggressive or dominant. (7. Hawkins, Fredman) A
similar study was tested on college hockey players. ( 1. Felson , Tedeschi)
They studied 14 male college players ages 18 to 23, and found a significant
correlation between testosterone and coach ratings of player’s aggressiveness
in respond to threat. Another study was done on four male physicians.

Ranging from ages to 23 to 38, they were confined on a boat for a two week
holidaycruise. The testosterone level to be correlated with the physician’s
assertiveness and dominant behavior, as ranked by three women on the boat.

Overall, there is considerable evidence from a variety of settings that in men,
circulating testosterone is correlated with dominant or aggressive behavior,
and antisocial norm breaking. Correlation doesn’t imply any reason, and the
question is still being pondered, “Is high testosterone a cause of dominant and
antisocial behavior?” ( 9. Montague) There has also been argument whether
or not that women can be as aggressive and dominant as men. Despite
considerable speculation that testosterone is associated with aggression or
status in women, the literature is few and far between. Scientists report that
testosterone levels in 55 women increased the status of their occupations.

Another study was done with women who were patients in a neurological
clinic, found significantly higher testosterone levels among relatively aggressive
patients compared to less aggressive ones, but they also differed in diagnois,
and making the comparison suspect. ( 5. Toch) The issue of sex differences
has been addressed by asking how men and women respond to an identical
competitive situation. Testosterone was given by saliva to young men and
women before, during, and after competing with a same sex partner in a
video game. The hormonal response to the competition was different in each
sex. Males showed the usual pre – contest rise in testosterone, but females
did not. Males did not show the usual result that testosterone levels of
winners is higher than that of losers, apparently because the video game
produced no mood difference between male winners and losers. A mood
difference was produced between female winners and losers, but the female
showed no specific response to the competition. These results show that the
outcome of the competition on testosterone specific to men. (7. Hawkins,
Fredman) From laboratory results and athletic studies, the testosterone level
rises in men awaiting a contest, regardless of the eventual outcome contest.

Generalizing to the street, hormone levels should be elevated in young men
who are constantly against assaults on their reputations. Of course,
testosterone level is also affected by the outcome of the contest, so persistent
losers might be hormonally depressed, but most men, those with mixed
outcome or better, should have elevated testosterone level. ( 3. Diamond)
Leaving behind the historic roots of the South, there may be a general
hypersensitivity to insult in any subculture that is, or once was organized
around young men who are constantly constrained by traditional community
agents of social control, as after occurs in frontier countries, gangs, among
bohemians, and after social breakdown or natural diseases. When young men
place special emphasis on protecting their images and reputations, and they
are not restrained from doing so, dominance contests become necessary, the
hallmark of male to male interaction. ( 5. Toch) To interpret racial differences
in testosterone, a comparison of black and white boys ages 6 to 18 years,
mostly preteens, showed no significant race different in testosterone. By
adulthood, black males do have significantly higher testosterone levels than
white males, possibly reflecting the higher defensive demands on black men
during adulthood. ( 10. Hauser, Powers, Noam) The reciprocal linkage
between hormones and behavior suggests that if testosterone levels among
young men in the inner city are highlighted by their constant defensive posture
against challenge and these high hormone levels in turn encourage further
dominance contests. Feedback between challenge and testosterone may
create a various circle, sometimes with lethal effects.(7. Hawkins, Fredman)
During puberty, the effects of testosterone on behavior appear to work
primarily through long term reorganizations of the body and neurohormanal
system, and only secondary through short term activation. By the end of
puberty, usually around 16 years, the body is nearly at it’s adult form so
behavior is affected primarily by the level of testosterone circulating in the
blood stream, which can activate steroid receptors. (10. Hauser, Powers,
Noam) There is a string correlation and experimental evidence that
testosterone levels respond in predictable ways both before and after
competitions for status. First, testosterone rises shortly before a competitive
event, as if anticipating the challenge. Second, after the conclusion of
competition, testosterone levels in winners rises relative to that of losers.

Testosterone also rises after status evaluations, and it falls after status
demotions, These effects require the presence of appropriate mood changes.

Limited evidence suggests that this pattern of testosterone responses is
specific to men. ( 4. Stepansky) As these studies have suggested, aggression
in sport is there, but the men mainly showcase it. Aggressive people are
attracted to contact violent sport competitions, to where they can fit in while
being violent. On the other hand, sports can create aggressive behaviors that
could lead to worse things. Women can and will showcase this, but as said
before, men show a stronger case of it. Things of this nature have been going
on for centuries, every since the beginning of sport, unfortunately, if these
behaviors aren’t controlled, the young children might be the ones to suffer by
an outcome that nobody wants to see, doing away with sports in general.

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1969 6. Human Aggression, Anthony Storr 19681. Aggression and
Violence, social interactionists perspectives. , Richard B. Felson and James
T. Tedeschi 1993 2. Sport in Society, Issues and Controversies 6th edition,
Jay J. Coakley 1998 3. Anger, Madness, and the Daimaonic; the
pyschologists genesis of Violence, evil and creativitiy. Stephen A. Diamond
1996 4. A History of Aggression Freud, Paul E. Stepansky 7. The Creation
of Deviance, Interpersonal and organized determinants, Richard Hawkins,
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