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Frustrationaggression Hypothesis

The frustrationaggression hypothesis is an attempt to explain aggressive behavior by linking it to frustration, in particular frustration of goals. One important application involves scapegoating, where it is suggested that as sources of frustration accumulate—during an economic crisis, for example—the frustrated groups might unleash their aggression against a convenient social target, often a minority group. This entry discusses development of the theory and its major assumptions, applications to intergroup relations, and critiques.

Background and Assumptions

The frustrationaggression hypothesis was introduced by a group of Yale University psychologists, John Dollard, Leonard Doob, Neal Miller, O. H. Mowrer, and Robert Sears. These authors published an important monograph in 1939 entitled Frustration and Aggression, in which they sought to integrate ideas and findings from several disciplines, especially sociology, anthropology, ...

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