Table of Contents
Human beings react to the environment in a variety of complex ways and one of those ways is through emotions. Emotions can be defined as conscious experiences symbolized by deep mental activity with a high intensity of pleasure or displeasure (Davidson, Ekman & Richard, 1994). Moods on the other hand are a bit different from emotions and are less intensive and more often than not lack a contextual stimulus. Anger also commonly referred to as wrath is an intense emotion characterized by a forcible and hostile responsive action towards a perceived provocation or threat (Videbeck, 2006). Anger is externally expressed through facial expressions in both human beings and animals and rarely does any physical altercation happen prior to expression of anger. For instance, certain animals may raise their fur, change color or bare their teeth in an attempt to ward off a perceived threat. The ignorance of these physical pointers leads to the physical altercations. The following is an analysis of anger from its biological, psychological and Sociological perspectives in an attempt to understand it from a wholesome perspective.
From a constructivist’s point of view, one can analyze the biological perspective of anger in terms of the physical triggers that influence a person or animal to exhibit aggression in a given scenario. This perspective focuses on the various aggression chemicals the brain releases and their hereditary imprint. Inheritance facilitates the transfer of certain genetic neuro biochemical genes that can be passed down from parents to their young; this means that people some may carry aggressive genes which they may have inherited from their parents and can also pass down to their own children. An experiment has been carried out to prove this theory and in 1979, Kristi Lagerspetz a Finnish psychologist proved this theory by breeding together large groups of mice which showed aggressive behavior. The aggressive mice’s off springs showed such extreme levels of aggression that they killed any other mouse put into their cage. He repeated the same experiment with an equally large group of placid mice and observed that over a certain number of generations, their offspring did not display any signs of aggressive behavior. This experiment showed that the emotions of a person can be heavily influenced by their ancestor’s gene composition. Studies have also shown that brain development and function of certain parts influences a person’s emotional behavior. The hypothalamus and the amygdala are the two main parts of the brain associated with interpreting emotion especially aggression (Ekman, 2004). For instance an experiment was carried out on a patient with a mental disorder whereby an electrode was placed on their amygdala, once this electrode became positive the patient became aggressive toward the doctor. The development of the cerebral cortex also influences an individual’s behavior especially anger. This part of the brain is tasked with interpreting behaviors of others and a wrong interpretation may result in the person expressing aggression.
A psychological analysis of anger or aggression is one that revolves around the question, “Is aggression innate or learnt?” In contrast to what we have seen those in the field of science prove, psychologists on the other hand try to figure out whether anger is a deeply rooted behavior within us or one that is learnt (Lorenz, 2002). There are several schools of thought on the matter many arguing that aggression resulting from anger is as a result of nature over nurture, however a psychoanalytic approach gives a better explanation as opposed to the widely spread narrative basing it on nurture. Sigmund Fred came with the psychodynamic approach which explained anger or aggression as an instinctive phenomenon that is by default present in any human being (Lorenz, 2002). A cognitive approach offers the best explanation on anger and why people exhibit differently in different situations. This approach embraces the fact that other biological factors also play a key role in regard to aggressive behavior hence pitting nature against nurture depicts a false impression as aggression is dependent on both factors.
Social cultural perspective
Society and culture without a doubt have a heavy influence on our behavior. The interactions we made as children had a very significant influence on the way we perceive the world and also how we handle our cognitive processes. Cultural convergence and divergence has a direct correlation with the way people handle anger. For instance a study was carried out on 141 11 year-old children China and The Netherlands where they were examined on a broad category of ways to respond to provocation leading to feelings of anger. The study showed that children from these places were able to use interpersonal methods to cope, however when asked what they would say to an aggressor in a hypothetical anger induced situation, Chinese children showed more tolerance as opposed to their Dutch peers who opted to confront the aggressor (Davidson, 1994). The socio-cultural difference is existent and ranges from different societies in the world.
In conclusion, anger is natural human feeling whose intensity and expression is dependent on the Biological, psychological and sociocultural environmental conditions experienced by the individual. Inheritance influences the transfer of certain genes which may dictate a person’s anger responses. Psychological theories argue out anger as mix of both nature and nurture and base it from a psychodynamic approach. Anger if not controlled builds up and finally explodes to aggression and rage which are harmful to a person and those around them, one should always seek calmness and a relaxed attitude while dealing with it.
- Davidson, edited by Paul Ekman, Richard J. (1994). The Nature of emotion : fundamental questions. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 291–93. ISBN 019589448.
- Videbeck, S. L. (2006). Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing (3rd ed.). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
- Ekman, P. (2004). Emotions Revealed: Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication, Holt Paperbacks, ISBN 0-8050-7516-X, p.63
- Lorenz, K. (2002). On Agression. Psychology Press. pp. 61. ISBN 978-0-415-28320-5