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You can see that this definition rules out some behaviors that we might normally think are aggressive.For instance, a rugby player who accidentally breaks the arm of another player or a driver who accidentally hits a pedestrian would not by our definition be displaying aggression because although harm was done, there was no intent to harm.is a word that we use every day to characterize the behavior of others and perhaps even of ourselves.We say that people are aggressive if they yell at or hit each other, if they cut off other cars in traffic, or even when they smash their fists on the table in frustration.
Social psychologists define aggression as (Baron & Richardson, 1994).Because it involves the perception of intent, what looks like aggression from one point of view may not look that way from another, and the same harmful behavior may or may not be considered aggressive depending on its intent.Intentional harm is, however, perceived as worse than unintentional harm, even when the harms are identical (Ames & Fiske, 2013).Emotional aggression is usually treated differently in the legal system (with less severe consequences) from cognitive, instrumental aggression.
However, it may well be the case that all aggression is at least in part instrumental because it serves some need for the perpetrator.
A bully who hits a child and steals her toys, a terrorist who kills civilians to gain political exposure, and a hired assassin are all good examples of instrumental aggression.