Project #82600 - Psychology responses

1. We think of fear and anger as separate emotions, but in some ways they may be similar.  As a thought question (there’s no “right” answer), what do you think are the fundamental behavioral similarities between fear and anger/aggression?  How do fear and anger differ in the brain? 

Both fear and aggression are evolutionary protection mechanisms, therefore it is not surprising that the amygdala is known to play a role in the production of both aggression and fear; although, the similarities stop there. Aggression also stimulates the hypothalamus, where fear is primarily controlled through amygdala (ScienceDaily, 2015).

Both fear and aggression, being protection mechanisms, are donned in self-interest activating the sympathetic nervous system which releases hormones, but the activators of fear and aggression vary. For example, heat has been known to cause people to aggress (Dahl, 2013), but unless the heat is life threatening it often is not known to commonly cause people to fear it. The area of suprachiasmatic nucleus (body’s biological clock) in the hypothalamus has known to be associated with both sleep and aggression (you get cranky when you get tired), but has absolutely nothing to do with fear (unless you have a sleep-related phobia).

While aggression is an offensive-defense mechanism, fear is the opposite of aggression eliciting freeze or flight responses. These differences involve cognition: aggression is known to correlate with decreased cognition (Dahl, 2013), while fear correlates with increased cognition(Nili, Goldberg, Weizman, & Dudai, 2010). This makes sense because of the flow of information through the brain. When an image comes into the brain it goes to the occipital lobes for reconstruction; then, the amygdala receives (reviews) the data prior to determine potential threats against its memory of past threats and determines the correct action before allowing the analytical actions of the next stage, the prefrontal cortex, to further decide if the amygdala’s choice was correct or not and what further actions are required (Saylor, 2015).

Evolutionarily speaking, if the amygdala decides aggressive measures are to be used than the amygdala dictated that the situation does not have time to allow for the prefrontal cortex to analyze. In this sense, aggression can be seen as a metaphor where the amygdala is the brain’s president and the need for aggression is like the president declaring martial law for swiftness: advoiding the slow processes of debate found in congress (the prefrontal cortex). In non-wartime situations, the regular processes of congress take over to dictate what we do and don’t have to worry about and what it is that we are going to do about it.


Dahl, M. (2013). Heat waves lead to hot tempers -- and here's why. Retrieved from Today: Health and Wellness:

Kennaway, D., & Murray, G. (2008). Body clock. Catalyst. Hawthorn, VIC 3122, Australia. Retrieved from

Nili, U., Goldberg, H., Weizman, A., & Dudai, Y. (2010). Fear thou not: Activity of frontal and temporal circuits in moments of real-life courage. ScienceDirect, 66(6), 949–962. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2010.06.009


2. After reading Milton Diamond’s article, “Biological Aspects of Sexual Orientation and Identity” (in the course Content), describe an example of a potential biologically-related cause of homosexuality that you find the most compelling. How might biology in this case interact with the environment to produce a specific sexual orientation? How does this help us understand heterosexuality?

According to this article, we all have a predisposition to orient in a certain way but our preferences are influenced by the interactions of nature and nurture.In an example of a potentially biological cause of homosexuality, I would say that the nurture is the one that I find most compelling. Nurture deals with a persons experiences and the things that they were exposed to that make up who they are. Contributing factors could be a persons social and cultural forces.

For example, if a boy grew up in an environment where he did not have a male influence and his social surrounds consisted of being around women by default, one could assume that is would play a role in his identity. If his gender pattern was more flexible, he could likely lean towards the sexual orientation that was more familiar to him. But if this is proven to accurate, someone with a predisposition to be heterosexual will likely be heterosexuality. Regardless of the nurture, the nature side would still be a factor in determining their sexuality.

This helps us understand heterosexuality because the nature and nurture of being heterosexual is the norm. We are raised to be a certain way and to like certain things so the predetermined aspects sets the tone for gender patterns and sexual identity. 

Saylor. (2015). Principals of Social Phychology. Retrieved from

ScienceDaily. (2015). Aggression. Retrieved from ScienceDaily:

3. Altruism refers to any behavior that is designed to increase another person’s welfare, and particularly those actions that do not seem to provide a direct reward to the person who performs them. Empathy refers to an affective response in which a person understands, and even feels, another person’s distress and experiences events the way the other person does. Empathy influences altruism simply because when you experience empathy if you can you want to help out. For example, I had a friend who had a miscarriage. Another friend of mine also had a miscarriage. When my first friend had the miscarriage my other friend almost immediately wanted to reach out and help and do whatever she could to help her because she had experienced three miscarriages. I believe because she was able to empathize with my friend the direct result was altruism.

4. Diffusion of responsibility is when a person is less likely to take responsibility when others are present. Social situations have a high influential effect on helping. Because of this, diffusion of responsibility usually occurs in group settings. There have been studies conducted that show that group sizes effect the timeliness of help that is received by others. The larger the group, the slower people are to take action (Stangor, Jhangiani,, & Tarry, 2014).


Stangor, D. C., Jhangiani,, D., & Tarry, D. (2014, Sept 26). Principles of Social Psychology – 1st International Edition. Retrieved Sept 17, 2015, from BC Campus:

5. Aggression means to have some sort of anger built up that results in hostile or violent behavior. There are many variables that contribute to aggression but the text specifically points out hormones, alcohol, and negative emotions. Although women have lower levels of testosterone than men, they are more influenced by smaller changes in those levels. Alcohol increases the likelihood that people will respond to situations more aggressively. This is said to be true since alcohol disrupts executive functions which help us plan, organize, reason, and control our emotions. Last, negative emotions such as frustration or discomfort are more likely to result in violent behavior as well.

According to the text, the male sex hormone testosterone is associated with increased aggression in both animals and humans. However, I believe aggression in equally present in both men and women. Men may be more likely to act out physically whereas women may be more likely to gossip or criticize.

After researching further into the topic I found that Black males as well as Hispanic females are reported to engage in higher levels of aggression within the United States. The United States showed remarkably higher levels of aggression compared to France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan. I also found that there tends to be much more aggression throughout Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Southern and Middle Africa than in other regions of the world. Overall, I believe aggression varies within each ethnicity. However, this can vary depending on one’s surroundings (including location) and how people were brought up.



Part 6 

What are “trait facets” of the Big 5 and how do they contribute to our understanding of behavior?

The 5 factors are known as trait facets which are the habitual patterns of behavior, thoughts, emotions, etc. Facets are measured by questions or items. Facets break down each factor into steps for better understanding of behavior (2MinutePsychology, 2013).

Explain the person-situation debate. Provide your perspective on the most influential factor on behavior: person, situation, or person-situation interaction. Why do you believe it is the most influential?

Depending on certain situations and how people’s behaviors change is the basis of the person-situation debate (Diener & Lucas, 2014). I believe that the most influential factor on behavior is the person-situation interaction. It is the most influential because specific situations are able to change a human’s personality. For example, if a loved one were to die and nothing is working out, one’s personality may change drastically due to the situation.

After taking the Brief Strengths Test, print your results. What are your top 5 strengths? Please list and explain how you might have acquired these “traits”. Select one and provide an example of how that trait plays-out in your life. How do you exhibit that behavior? Provide an example of your work, school or social realm.

My top 5 strengths are Citizenship, Creativity, Kindness, Leadership, and Forgiveness/Mercy (Authentic Happiness, 2015). I believe that I have acquired these “traits” by my childhood surroundings and parental influence. Kindness plays-out in my life every single day. I have never been the type of person to show rudeness or not care at all. This trait, I believe I have learned from my father who always shows generosity and compassion. I exhibit kindness by caring about others rather than putting myself first. A great example would be when my coworker needed to leave in order to visit her mother in the hospital but was told to stay after hours so I told her to go and stayed behind for her.


Authentic Happiness. (2015). Retrieved September 17, 2015, from

Diener, E., & Lucas, R. (2014). Personality Traits. 1-15. Retrieved September 17, 2015.

2MinutePsychology. (2013, September 6). The Big Five Personality Model [Video file]. Retrieved from

Subject English
Due By (Pacific Time) 09/19/2015 12:00 am
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