Sport and aggressive behavior, Do sports create aggressive behavior, or simply
attract people who are already aggressive? Aggression and sport have gone
together as long as sports have been around, be it the players themselves, to
the parents, coaches, or spectators, they just seem to be an inseparable part of
each other. The term violence is defined as physical assault based on total
disregard for the well being of self and others, or the intent to injure another
person ( 2. Coakley). Intimidation usually does not cause physical harm, but
often is designed to produce psychological consequences, enabling one person to
physically over power or dominate another. These statements as defined by the
author, Jay J. Coakley, is what people today have made a must part on sport.

Pleasure and participation sports absolutely cannot be grouped with power and
performance sports when in relation to aggression.Pleasure sports are simply
played for pleasure. Score is usually not kept. The athletes participating are
usually on occasion doing it for fun and exercise. A majority of athletes who
have been playing sports since they were little, have probably been pounded into
their heads that to be successful in sport, you need to be aggressive, and at
some times, unnecessary. Also that to get what you want, you have to go at it
with all force. Not that this is wrong but, this attitude in today’s society has
been a major problem factor to the athletes when they get older, to get into
trouble with the law. Those long-term effects of so called discipline, patterns
develops these destructive behaviors. (9. Montague) Although some people are
still in belief that aggressive behaviors in all forms, are grounded into
instincts, but they also relate these actions to sports. Their parents played,
who were known for their aggressive behavior, so the child feels that they have
to live up to that expectation.( 6. Storr) Athletes do have to be aggressive to
a point, so that the team can form a strategy to win. There is also a limit to
aggression when it turns into violence. People might say that it’s not
aggression or violence, it’s just adrenaline pumping. Adrenaline isn’t even
similar to violence. Aggression, maybe, but nothing that would be harmful to
anyone else. This might be a factor to why contact sports are so popular. For
example, football, hockey, rugby, wrestling, and boxing. Contrary to predictions
of instinct theory, several studies show that contact sports exist and thrive in
the same societies that have high rates of aggression and violence.

Unfortunately, another belief is that contact sports teach discipline,
self-respect, and self-defense. (8. May ) Contact sports aren’t a positive way
to teach these things. Being physically tough helps, but it also needs to be
left on the field when the game is over. This can also lead to the abuse of
family, girlfriends, boyfriends, friends, and any other person who gets in their
“way”, because athletes use these sports as a way to get their
aggression and angers out. ( 10. Hauser, Powers, Noam ) Other’s might argue that
it’s skill, and not in the least way violent. Although we really can’t give a
straight and to the point answer to the question “Is aggression an

Instinct?” We can say that in man, as in other animals, there exists a
physiological mechanism, when stimulated, it rises both subjective feelings of
anger and to physical changes, which relate to fighting. This is easily set off,
and like other emotional responses, it is very stereotyped, and instinctive.

Just like one person is like a very angry person; they resemble one another at
the psychological level. The way in which humans adapt to and control their
feelings of rage. ( 5. Toch) The mechanisms in which these body changes, the
functions that come about is still completely misunderstood. ( 5. Toch)

Experiments from animal’s show that it appears that there is a small area from
the base of the brain in which the feeling of anger starts. This, from which is
sent to the nervous impulses that cause the blood pressure to rise. This area is
called the hypothalamus. Its function is to coordinate responses like anger. ( 3

Diamond) The relationship between anger, rage, and violence, and psychopathology
that is abnormal, or unnatural in human behavior and experience. People
demonstrate their anger reactions in different ways. Similar to most human
behavior, violence has a meaning that it only seems “senseless” or
“meaningless” to the extent that we are unable to understand it. Most
violence starts the fiery human emotions of anger and rage. Not all violent
behavior has its origins in anger and rage; some of it is learned, as mentioned
before. Some violence is driven primarily by as Friedrich Nietzsche referred as
“the will to power”. In other words, rage. ( 3. Diamond) Rage is an
instinctual and defensive reaction to severe stress, or physical threat. This is
an automatic reflex that people share with animals. This response to serious
threat is referred to by Walter Cannon as the “fight or flight”
response. It’s the first defense for the survival of the species. Any other
threat to the continued physical existence, a person would have the instinct to
try to leave, or if they can’t, then physically defend them by attacking the
source of the threat. ( 7 . Hawkins, Fredman ) Relating to the fact that men are
more aggressive than women are, studies shown in several cases those
testosterone levels in young men especially are. The high levels of endogenous
testosterone seem to encourage behavior apparently intended to dominate, to
enhance one’s status over other people. ( 9. Montague) Sometimes aggressive
behavior is aggressive, it’s apparent intent being to inflict harm on another
person, but often dominance is expressed nonaggressively. Measurement of
testosterone at a single point in time presumably indicator of a man’s basal
testosterone level, predicts many of these dominant behaviors. Numerous animal
experiments, this one particular to rodents, show that raising testosterone
increases aggressiveness. This is in relation to the dominance and antisocial
behavior related to the individuals. An individual can be said to act dominantly
if it’s apparent intent is to achieve or maintain high status, to obtain power
influence, or valued prerogatives. Rodents do typically dominate aggressively,
but it isn’t true of humans. Much of interpersonal behavior is overtly or subtly
concerned with managing dominance and subordination without causing physical
harm. It is harder to identify instances of aggression of a dominating motives,
things related to religious sacrifices. It is understood that motivations are
different from different situations for dominance and aggression. ( 1. Felson,

Tedeschi) Clinical science assumes that all men are capable of bloody
destructiveness. It maintains that image with most people who do away with their
hatreds and, and although There are some instances where this effort fails. Some
people are so shy about their aggressiveness that when they are provoked in the
least little way, they become so violent that they are unbearable. Even a slight
review of violent conduct suggests that violence isn’t blind, and random.

Members of fighting gangs are frequently nonviolent when separated from their
members. Many extremely dangerous people seem to specialize in certain areas of
victims. This is in relation to taking the aggressiveness off the field. There
is sometimes a relationship between being violent and being socially improper.

Violence usually takes place in certain circles, certain settings, and on
certain occasions. If violence is really blind and random, it’s hard to
understand why we should find so much in specific situations. Does a man assault
his wife rather than the athlete who messed up simply because she’s available?

Violence can’t be associated with angry explosions. There is shape and form to
violence. Patterns of destructiveness show consistently, and they relay from
person to person. As for each of us, violence seems to be tied to a restricted
range of life situations. It seems to reflect purpose, and implies the presence
of hidden meanings. So, how do we satisfy it? How is it provoked? How do violent
people function? (4. Stepansky) The level of testosterone circulating in the
bloodstream may affect dominating or aggressive behavior by activating receptors
in organs or the nervous system. Focusing on young males who have passed through
puberty. There are associated reports that show a relatively high level of
testosterone with dominant, aggressive, or antisocial actors including several
studies of men in jail. The scientists found that no significant testosterone
difference between those who fought in prison, and those who did not, between
the ages of 18 to 35. However, prisoners with a prior record of violence and
aggression related crimes, they had a significantly higher testosterone level
than those without a history. In the age group of 18to 45, sorted into the same
groups, those with chronic aggressive behavior, those socially dominant without
physical aggressiveness, and those who were neither aggressive or dominant,
their testosterone levels were not significantly different between the
aggressive and dominant groups, but they also had significantly higher
testosterone than the group that was either aggressive or dominant. (7. Hawkins,

Fredman) A similar study was tested on college hockey players. ( 1. Felson ,

Tedeschi) They studied 14 male college players ages 18 to 23, and found a
significant correlation between testosterone and coach ratings of player’s
aggressiveness in respond to threat. Another study was done on four male
physicians. Ranging from ages to 23 to 38, they were confined on a boat for a
two week holidaycruise. The testosterone level to be correlated with the
physician’s assertiveness and dominant behavior, as ranked by three women on the
boat. Overall, there is considerable evidence from a variety of settings that in
men, circulating testosterone is correlated with dominant or aggressive
behavior, and antisocial norm breaking. Correlation doesn’t imply any reason,
and the question is still being pondered, “Is high testosterone a cause of
dominant and antisocial behavior?” ( 9. Montague) There has also been
argument whether or not that women can be as aggressive and dominant as men.

Despite considerable speculation that testosterone is associated with aggression
or status in women, the literature is few and far between. Scientists report
that testosterone levels in 55 women increased the status of their occupations.

Another study was done with women who were patients in a neurological clinic,
found significantly higher testosterone levels among relatively aggressive
patients compared to less aggressive ones, but they also differed in diagnois,
and making the comparison suspect. ( 5. Toch) The issue of sex differences has
been addressed by asking how men and women respond to an identical competitive
situation. Testosterone was given by saliva to young men and women before,
during, and after competing with a same sex partner in a video game. The
hormonal response to the competition was different in each sex. Males showed the
usual pre – contest rise in testosterone, but females did not. Males did not
show the usual result that testosterone levels of winners is higher than that of
losers, apparently because the video game produced no mood difference between
male winners and losers. A mood difference was produced between female winners
and losers, but the female showed no specific response to the competition. These
results show that the outcome of the competition on testosterone specific to
men. (7. Hawkins, Fredman) From laboratory results and athletic studies, the
testosterone level rises in men awaiting a contest, regardless of the eventual
outcome contest. Generalizing to the street, hormone levels should be elevated
in young men who are constantly against assaults on their reputations. Of
course, testosterone level is also affected by the outcome of the contest, so
persistent losers might be hormonally depressed, but most men, those with mixed
outcome or better, should have elevated testosterone level. ( 3. Diamond)

Leaving behind the historic roots of the South, there may be a general
hypersensitivity to insult in any subculture that is, or once was organized
around young men who are constantly constrained by traditional community agents
of social control, as after occurs in frontier countries, gangs, among
bohemians, and after social breakdown or natural diseases. When young men place
special emphasis on protecting their images and reputations, and they are not
restrained from doing so, dominance contests become necessary, the hallmark of
male to male interaction. ( 5. Toch) To interpret racial differences in
testosterone, a comparison of black and white boys ages 6 to 18 years, mostly
preteens, showed no significant race different in testosterone. By adulthood,
black males do have significantly higher testosterone levels than white males,
possibly reflecting the higher defensive demands on black men during adulthood.
( 10. Hauser, Powers, Noam) The reciprocal linkage between hormones and behavior
suggests that if testosterone levels among young men in the inner city are
highlighted by their constant defensive posture against challenge and these high
hormone levels in turn encourage further dominance contests. Feedback between
challenge and testosterone may create a various circle, sometimes with lethal
effects.(7. Hawkins, Fredman) During puberty, the effects of testosterone on
behavior appear to work primarily through long term reorganizations of the body
and neurohormanal system, and only secondary through short term activation. By
the end of puberty, usually around 16 years, the body is nearly at it’s adult
form so behavior is affected primarily by the level of testosterone circulating
in the blood stream, which can activate steroid receptors. (10. Hauser, Powers,

Noam) There is a string correlation and experimental evidence that testosterone
levels respond in predictable ways both before and after competitions for
status. First, testosterone rises shortly before a competitive event, as if
anticipating the challenge. Second, after the conclusion of competition,
testosterone levels in winners rises relative to that of losers. Testosterone
also rises after status evaluations, and it falls after status demotions, These
effects require the presence of appropriate mood changes. Limited evidence
suggests that this pattern of testosterone responses is specific to men. ( 4.

Stepansky) As these studies have suggested, aggression in sport is there, but
the men mainly showcase it. Aggressive people are attracted to contact violent
sport competitions, to where they can fit in while being violent. On the other
hand, sports can create aggressive behaviors that could lead to worse things.

Women can and will showcase this, but as said before, men show a stronger case
of it. Things of this nature have been going on for centuries, every since the
beginning of sport, unfortunately, if these behaviors aren’t controlled, the
young children might be the ones to suffer by an outcome that nobody wants to
see, doing away with sports in general.

Bibliography

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Human Aggression, Anthony Storr 19681. Aggression and Violence, social
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Sport in Society, Issues and Controversies 6th edition, Jay J. Coakley 1998 3.

Anger, Madness, and the Daimaonic; the pyschologists genesis of Violence, evil
and creativitiy. Stephen A. Diamond 1996 4. A History of Aggression Freud, Paul

E. Stepansky 7. The Creation of Deviance, Interpersonal and organized
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May 1972 9. Man and Aggression, Ashley Montague 1968 10. Adolescents and their

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Noam 1991