Are you aggressive? What is aggression?

Social psychologists define aggression as behavior that is intended to harm another individual who does not wish to be harmed (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.

All violent acts are aggressive, but only acts that are intended to cause extreme physical damage, such as murder, assault, rape, and robbery, are violent. Slapping someone really hard across the face might be violent, but calling people names would only be aggressive.

One kind of aggression is the emotional aggression. It refers to aggression that occurs with only a small amount of forethought or intent and that is determined primarily by impulsive emotions. Emotional aggression is the result of the extreme negative emotions we’re experiencing at the time that we aggress and is not really intended to create any positive outcomes, says social psychologists.

Instrumental or cognitive aggression, on other hand, is aggression that is intentional and planned. It is aimed at hurting someone to gain something—attention, monetary reward, or political power, for instance.

Physical aggression is aggression that involves harming others physically—for instance hitting, kicking, stabbing, or shooting them. Non-physical aggression is aggression that does not involve physical harm.

Now what can we do to control ourselves? Follow these simple steps:

  1. Remain Calm.
  2. Empathise with the other person.
  3. Be honest with yourself.
  4. Think twice before you react.
  5. Understand the root of the problem.
  6. Always be with optimistic people.
  7. Avoid being in violent environment.


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