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Frustration–aggression hypothesis - Wikipedia

Using examples from sport, show what you understand by the frustration-aggression model.

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A number of theoretical models (e.g. Gustafson, 1984) indicate that drinking can lead to more extreme responses to frustration, including aggressive responses. The 'frustration-aggression' theory, originally conceived by Dollard et al (1939) but later substantially refined by Berkowitz (1978) and others, states that frustration, caused by 'interference in goal-directed activity', does not automatically result in aggression but produces a 'readiness' for aggression which if 'triggered' can result in aggressive responses. The 'trigger' may be an insignificant element of behaviour – such as a casual joke, gesture or mild criticism – which would normally be overlooked, but to the frustrated individual may be enough to provoke an aggressive response. The alcohol-induced cognitive impairments identified above – narrowing of the perceptual field and reduced powers of reasoning – may increase the likelihood of a frustrated person focusing on this one small aspect of the situation, exaggerating its importance, and responding in an irrational, aggressive manner. Again, however, we must stress that this does not occur automatically or by any means universally, and that other mediating situational and cultural variables, outlined below, are necessary to produce this response.

Give one example of why the Frustration-Aggression hypothesis is criticised.

Dollard et al. (1939) proposed that if we experience frustration, this leads to aggression. The aggression is a cathartic release of the build-up of frustration. Dollard explains that if the individual is prevented from achieving a goal by some external factor, then this will lead to frustration which will always lead to aggression. The aggression cannot always be directed at the source of aggression, which may be abstract such as lack of money, or too powerful, as the risk of punishment is too high. Psychodynamic theory proposes we have ego defence mechanisms to protect ourselves. Two defence mechanisms that are used in the catharsis of aggression are:

Frustration-aggression hypothesis: examination and reformulation

If the frustration continues, this drive may become an aggressive drive and result in breaking the rules of aggressive behaviour.

Berkowitz (1969) proposed a revised frustration-aggression hypothesis, where he argued that frustration doesn’t always lead to aggression. He stated that aggression would only occur in the presence of certain cues. For example, cues such as the presence of weapons will be more likely to trigger aggression.

The frustration-aggression hypothesis put forward by Dollard et al. (1939) is based on the psychodynamic explanation of catharsis. Freud believed the drive for aggression was innate, like the drive for food. He believed that the only way to reduce aggression is to engage in an activity which released it. We feel better because we have ‘got it off of our chest’.

Aggression: Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis | …

the Frustration-Aggression theory (Dollard, ..

Frustrated persons do not always respond with aggressive thoughts and words, or deeds. They may show a wide variety of reactions ranging from resignation, depression and despair to attempts to overcome the sources of frustration. Examination of the evidence indicates that whether frustration increases or fails to enhance covert aggression depends largely on two factors. First, frustration appears to increase aggression only when the frustration is intense. When it is mild or moderate, aggression may not be enhanced. Second frustration is likely to facilitate aggression when it is perceived as arbitrary or illegitimate, rather than when it is viewed s deserved or legitimate.

a). Frustration: The single most potent means of inciting human beings to aggression is frustration. Widespread acceptance of this view stems from John Dollard’s frustration, aggression hypothesis. This hypothesis indicated that frustration always leads to a form of aggression and that aggression always stem from frustration.

Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis (SOCIAL …
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  • (1939) frustration-aggression hypothesis

    Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis - Psych Central

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  • What Is The Frustration Aggression Theory? - YouTube

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Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis | Encyclopedia of …

The frustration-aggression theory has been studied since 1939, and there have been modifications. Dill and Anderson present a study that questions whether frustration that is justified or not plays a role in future aggression. The experiment consisted of three groups of subjects performing a folding origami task that was timed. The participants were split into the control, justified frustration and unjustified frustration groups. In each condition the experimenter states how they will only present the instructions one time and then start the timer. At a predetermined fold the confederate in the condition interrupts the experimenter and asks them to please slow down.

The Frustration- aggression hypothesis by Korin Booth …

However, this theory has some problems. First, there is little empirical support for it, even though researchers have studied it for more than sixty years. Another issue is that this theory suggests frustrated, prejudiced individuals should act more aggressively towards outgroups they are prejudiced against, but studies have shown that they are more aggressive towards everyone. The theory also has limitations, for example it cannot say why some outgroups are chosen to be scapegoats and why others are not.

Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis - Springer

Dill and Anderson found that participants in the unjustified frustration group rated the research staff to have less ability and likeability, knowing this would affect their financial situation as graduate students. The justified frustration group rated the staff as less likeable and having less ability than the control group. However, the results were not as extreme. These results support the hypothesis that frustration can lead to aggression. This study presents data concerning behavioral aggression as well as introducing the level of frustration that needs to be taken into account.


The frustration–aggression hypothesis, otherwise known as the frustration–aggression–displacement theory, attempts to explain why people . It is a theory of proposed by , in 1939, and further developed by Miller, et al. in 1941 and in 1969.

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