Frustration–Aggression Hypothesis

For a good many students of human behavior, the main reason why people become aggressive is that they have been frustrated. William McDougall, one of the first psychological theorists to be explicitly labeled a social psychologist, espoused this idea at the beginning of the 20th century. He maintained that an instinct to engage in combat is activated by any obstruction to the person's smooth progress toward his or her goal. Sigmund Freud had a similar view in his early writings. Before he developed the notion of a death instinct, he proposed that aggression was the primordial reaction when the individual's attempt to obtain pleasure or avoid pain was blocked. This general conception, widely known as the frustration– aggression hypothesis, was spelled out much more precisely ...

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