Violence is one of the primary reasons for human death, along with life-threatening diseases and acute medical conditions. If the latter is out of social control, the former should be eradicated to reduce the death toll and improve life quality. Moreover, many people suffer from others’ destructible behavior and cannot help themselves in those situations because of the lack of necessary persecution and unclear reasons for such actions. The instances of brutality include cases of crimes of sexual harassment, domestic violence, assault, rape, robbery, and even bullying in the routine environment (Ahonen et al. 613). This problem is especially urgent for the developing nations’ population where offensive force is spread widely. I wonder why people are so violent for their peers, partners, colleagues, and general members of society. Is it possible that there are some psychological prerequisites for behaving in such a way?
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Before, I thought that violence could be the trait of character that is inherent to some people. Paul Salkovskis suggests that violence is instead a psychological problem similar to depression or anxiety. Only the part of the population has a high likelihood of being subject to these mental disorders; likewise, the violence occurs among the society members (Salkovskis). Hence, this theory suggests that the occasions of violent behavior could be treated as psychological conditions of inclined individuals (Salkovskis). To what extent such practice is possible, and do we have distinct factors of violent behavior?
There are some factors put forward which are claimed to trigger destructive acting in society. Distinctively, today’s scientific data suggests that there are specific predictors of violent behavior, but the exact reasons are still unknown (Salkovskis). It is hard to link violence to a particular cause or occasion that could be tracked or eliminated. There are some suggestions that the genes or being subject to a specific range of emotions could stimulate the behavior (Salkovskis). Unfortunately, the anger management procedures showed a limited ability to handle the actions detrimental to the environment (Salkovskis). There is no evidence to support the statements about the individual factors to be the basis.
Despite these investigations, the researchers are still working to find the justification of violence and better understand such a detrimental phenomenon. Some recent studies’ results propose the theory that the force could be driven either by the motivation to get the outcome or by the stimulation of the emotions (Salkovskis). There is also some evidence to suggest that violent actions could be triggered by low self-esteem, which is stated to be the reason behind these phenomena. However, the subjects are usually portrayed as behaving self-sufficient, in places self-important (Salkovskis). In such a way, the reason for their style of behavior is the motivation to punish the offender, increase the level of self-esteem, and satisfy their desire to take revenge. Punishing the seemed cause of the problems can become the remedy in their eyes (Salkovskis). It should be noted that this theory is still being studied because the amount of evidence available for it is scarce (Salkovskis). As a result, violence can be considered a psychological disorder, but the reasons are still not understood and need to be researched further. Is there any evidence suggesting that specific mental disorders could indicate the individual’s possible future misdemeanors?
I considered the possibility of violence to be the consequence of mental illness. The literature results suggested that the answers are far more complicated than they could seem at first sight. The statistics that consider the patients with the specific disorder show that there are instances of correlation between violent behavior and disease (Ahonen et al. 615). For example, there are multiple research papers where the associations between severe mental diseases and violence were made. Specifically talking, patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder have a tremendous possibility of committing unwanted actions if they have access to life-threatening weapons (Ahonen et al. 616). This fact suggests that clinical psychological illnesses could be attributed to high social risk factors of performing violent operations (Ahonen et al. 616). Unfortunately, the attempts to identify if people with these disorders are prone to destructive behavior were not successful (Ahonen et al. 618). On the other hand, does it mean that most criminals have mental problems, which is the reason why they act accordingly?
Although it could explain much of both targeted and general violent actions, this suggestion is not supported by the case reports and evidence available today. Mostly, individuals who suffer from psychological diseases do not commit violent crimes instead become victims (Ahonen et al. 620). The contrary is also true; those who perform destructive actions are mostly mentally stable (Ahonen et al. 621). Consequently, young men and alcohol or drug consumers can act violently with a higher probability than individuals who suffer from psychiatric problems (Ahonen et al. 621). Therefore, my consideration can be regarded as wrong for the general society. Could the discussed phenomenon be the result of evolutionary behavior inherited from ancient human species living in wild conditions?
Prior to searching the evidence for this, I questioned the possibility of violent behavior to be the consequence of the need for early people to kill the animal enemies for staying alive. It seemed to be the possible answer to the question as the thought was motivated by the awareness of evolutionary psychology principles. Evolutionary psychology seeks the answers to the present human phenomena in the history and the style of behavior of our ancestors (Barbaro). As the Homo Sapiens development occurred considerably quicker than the rate of evolution, some features could result from a lack of adaptation (Barbaro). The consideration of evolutionary principles could be the key to understanding human behavior as it explains the origins of the human species and frequently helps in medical research.
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Despite the considerations close to scientific ones, they turned out to be different from what professionals offer. Instead, the evolutionary psychologist rather proposes that men’s jealousy towards their spouses be the reason for an intimate partner’s violent behavior (Barbaro). The conclusion was made after the multiple case studies of the instances of violent crimes in families as well as our evolutionary relatives, the humanoid monkey species (Barbaro). Nevertheless, it does not suggest that all men are subject to a high level of jealousy and, hence, can behave fiercely (Barbaro). This judgment is very close to the suggestions from the previous source where violent behavior and its possibility were claimed to be individual characteristics and mental features.
There still is a question of why such a style of performance remained in a society with high moral and humanistic values. This manner of action could bear natural selection because men grew up witnessing their fathers’ violence in regards to their mothers (Barbaro). At the same time, women knew they would be subject to the same lifestyle after maturing. Social learning theory could be applied in this case, although it is limited to a significant part of the population and does not consider minorities (Barbaro). The suggestion seems to be reliable and relevant, but in my opinion, it has some weaknesses to be accepted as the total truth. In addition to that, the researchers indicate the prevalence of biochemical and structural abnormalities as the possible reason or occasion for the discussed type of behavior (Barbaro). These assumptions also lack evidence and the exact explanation of the reason for the radical actions. As a result, the suggestions of the reasoning of the violent acts are psychological situations, evolutionary consequences, and the factors of the cell and molecular level.
To conclude, the researchers are trying to find the particular factors for violence that could be eradicated, and the problem would be solved. Although some correlating factors are observed, and relevant conclusions are made, the research results are not strong enough to suggest the utility. Moreover, some psychologists suppose the consequences of past behavior are to blame, although this is not an exact solution. I could not find a specific answer to my question that would satisfy my interest. My conclusion is that violence is a trait of character that all people are prone to, but because of the circumstances and personal values, choose to perform or not. Moreover, as in the case of mentally unstable patients, the psychological prerequisites for violence outperform other arguments in their minds. The reasons for the adverse performance are mostly suggested to explain close-relationship actions rather than crimes in society in general.
Ahonen, Lia, et al. “The Association Between Serious Mental Health Problems and Violence: Some Common Assumptions and Misconceptions.” Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, vol. 20, no. 5, 2019, pp. 613-625.
Barbaro, Nicole. “How Can Evolutionary Psychology Help Explain Intimate Partner Violence?” Behavioural Scientist, 2017, Web.
Salkovskis, Paul. “How Much do We Actually Know About the Psychology of Violence?” The Conversation, 2016, Web.