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This article is about the effects of psychopathic individuals on unprovoked aggression. According to Hemphill, Hare & Wong, 1998, Psychopathy is one of the strongest dispositional predictors of aggression and violence. It has been associated to some of the most heinous and pathological forms of crime and aggression. The author analyses the correlation between psychopathic traits and unprovoked aggression and aims at identifying effective motives underlying the relationship. Through laboratory, research the author demonstrates the links between provocation and aggression inside a laboratory and the similarity of behavior outside the laboratory. According to the author, the power of provocation to induce aggressive responding is often enough to suppress diverse response inhibiting traits in an individual. Essentially a habitually non-aggressive person may become aggressive when provoked in certain situations. The author assumes that psychopathic individuals are more likely to engage in violent and cold-blooded acts of aggression. Through the research performed on one hundred thirty seven men, response on violent images was assessed and conclusions drawn on the same.
Contrary to what one may think, the results of the analyses indicated that participants who responded faster to happiness words or imagery were more likely to engage in unprovoked aggression. In addition to this, it was viewed that emotionally detached individuals had increased chances of unprovoked aggression without necessarily being sadistic. The implications of this data show that violence may inform the likelihood for perpetration of future acts. Serial murders, rape, school shootings, violence, and other similar random acts of violence validate the deleterious existence of unprovoked violence. According to the tests, emotionally detached individuals and social deviants were seen to have a stunning lack of empathy, lack of remorse and a high disregard for other’s perspective. On a different experiment done on a sample on collegiate men, participants were identified as retaliatory, unprovoked, or non-aggressors based on based on an experimental paradigm. Aggression was ruled out based on competitive interaction between the participant and a confederate. The results showed that high psychopathic men had a 60% higher chance of being unprovoked aggressors compared to their low psychopathic counterparts. The author concludes that the there is an association between psychopathic behavior and response to violence and perpetration of the same.
Provocation is a significant catalyst for aggression. Whether or not an individual displays sadistic or psychopathic traits response to an aggression is naturally aggression. It would be unnatural or abnormal when the response to an aggression towards a person is calmness often, peace is resolved when both parties engage in conflict and when the loss is felt by both sides as a result, they resolve their issues amicably through dialogue. In my critique, the possession of psychopathic traits identified as a risk factor for unprovoked aggression is inherent to all human beings by nature. There is no one who is entirely docile on aggression. The author should have gone further to explain the motive and the variables influencing response to aggression. For instance the factors that lead to a person being a sadist or showing withdrawal symptoms and whether or not they are inborn traits. Sadism is defined as cognition associated with derivation of pleasure from inflicting emotional or physical to others. It is therefore a form of self-protective mechanism that has nevertheless been used to explain psychopathic. According to Meloy, in their study, they found out in a sample of violent offenders, psychopaths were more sadistic than the non-psychos were. The correlation between sadistic violence and the resultant behavior is however high with a strong score o 1 on the psychopathic checklist-Revised. In these results, one may conclude that feelings of pleasure on sadists serve as an intrinsic motivation for unprovoked aggression.
The methodology used, the average age of the respondents was 19.2 who were young university students with an average of 14.3 years of education. The sample was comprised of 81.3% Caucasians, 7.2% Asians, 6% Blacks and 1.2% Latinos and 4.2% of others of different ethnicities. Women were also excluded from the study based on the fact that majority of violent crimes are committed by men. Previous studies also showed that women generally demonstrated less aggression. In critiquing the methodology used, there are diverse socio-economic ad socio-political factors in the society that influence the likelihood and level of aggression of a population. It is difficult to draw conclusions on the validity of the results based on the fact that most of the respondents were youthful young men who have energy and will take more risks in violent acts because they do not have much to lose and are still dependants. Self-reporting is always biased, as a person is often likely to under report bad behavior and over report good behavior.