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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 221884 Find in a Library
Title: Examining the Evidence From Small-Scale Societies and Early Prehistory and Implications for Modern Theories of Aggression and Violence
Journal: Aggression and Violent Behavior  Volume:13  Issue:1  Dated:January-February 2008  Pages:1-9
Author(s): Grant S. McCall; Nancy Shields
Date Published: January 2008
Page Count: 9
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article evaluates theoretical positions concerning the causes of violence among human societies using data from small-scale, radically non-Western societies and archaeological evidence from early hominids.
Abstract: This paper begins with a brief discussion of the existing theories about the causes of interpersonal violence, evolutionary and interactionist. Evolutionary theories focus on explaining how various pattern of interpersonal violence might have increased the fitness of offspring over time. Interactionist theories of violence and aggression are useful in the sense that they provide an analytical framework and descriptive vocabulary for studying behaviors in their dynamic social contexts. Using these theories, the authors present evidence to support their arguments that (1) violence is ubiquitous among all modern human societies, and (2) there is ample evidence for interpersonal violence among early hominids. Based on this, the authors argue that there is clear evidence to support at least some evolutionary biological input influencing modern patterns of violence. The authors also found tremendous variability and diversity in the patterns of violence that have been observed which implies that the occurrence of violence is a highly complex and multivariate phenomenon. The authors conclude that only multicausal models that take into account both evolutionary biological and situational or environmental influences can explain human patterns of aggression and violence. The general aggression model of Anderson and Bushman (2002) is provided as an example. Future research should focus on two central problems: (1) the refinement of archaeological methods for recognizing evidence for interpersonal violence based on skeletal remains, and the expansion of early hominid skeletal dataset available for studying this problem; and (2) conducting further comparative work among diverse modern societies in terms of documenting both patterns of violence and the many inputs that contribute to these patterns. Figures, references
Main Term(s): Violence
Index Term(s): Behavior; Cross-cultural analyses; Cross-cultural comparisons; Violence causes
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