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Aggression, Definition and Assessment of

  • By: Wayne Warburton
  • In: Encyclopedia of Media Violence
  • Edited by: Matthew S. Eastin
  • Subject:Mass Communication, Aggression & Violence, Violence & Society

There is yet to be universal acceptance of any one definition of aggression; however, researchers in the field of psychology have tended to broadly agree that aggression is a behavior (which could be physical, verbal, relational/social, direct, or indirect) performed with the intent to hurt another who does not want to be hurt. Acts of aggression can be assessed in many ways, with laboratory experiments examining the willingness to hurt another in a controlled environment, questionnaire research asking about one’s own or another’s aggressive behavior, field research taking observational notes of aggression seen in everyday situations, and brain-scanning research examining changes to the brain associated with aggression. Crucially, each form of assessing aggression has unique strengths and weaknesses, leading to controversy about whether aggression has ...

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