15 Aug 2022


Aggressive Acts: How to Deal With Them

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Academic level: Master’s

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Case Study 

Aggressive acts have become a conventional norm in the contemporary society. Recently, a teenage boy, Corey Johnson, killed a friend and attempted to stab two other teenage boys during a Sunday sleepover. The boy was found guilty of homicide, as well as two accounts of attempted murder. Based on police reports, the seventeen-year-old killed as a result of his Muslim faith (Weber, 2018). Based on police reports, the incident took place during a sleepover at Kyle Bancroft’s house, on a Sunday evening. Apart from Kyle and Johnson and Kyle’s mother, Dane Bancroft, Kyle’s brother had a friend sleeping over. Johnson had bought the knife and carried it along. Johnson attacked Simon, Dane, and Brand at around 4.00 am when they were asleep. Brand was stabbed severally before his throat was slit (Weber, 2018). The two others made an escapade and sought the help of a neighbor, who called 911. Allegedly, Brand was killed since he was romanticizing famous individuals and comparing them to gods, which was in contradiction to the Muslim faith (Weber, 2018). Additionally, the accused claimed that Dane also ridiculed his faith. The police discovered that Johnson had recently converted to this faith, and used most of his leisure time watching violent videos. According to the police reports, the videos encouraged the killing of non-believers. 

The General Aggression Model 

Allen, Anderson, & Bushman (2018) argue that aggression refers to deliberate behavior which is carried out with the aim of inflicting harm on other individuals who are enthused to avoid harm. The general aggression model is effective in promoting a deeper understanding of the drivers of aggressive behavior. GAM is a modern and holistic socio-cognitive model which perceives aggression as an outcome of mixture various dispositions. 

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The theory focuses on three basic constituents of the interaction between an individual and the situation. The elements include inputs, routes, and outcomes (Gilbert, Daffern, & Anderson, 2017). Individual and situational factors constitute inputs. Personal factors include factors such as philosophies, values, attitudes, as well as an individual’s hostility propensity. Situational aspects refer to violent cues, incitements and the availability of weapons. In the case study, Johnson’s actions are driven by personal aspects, regarding his beliefs, as well as a provocation and the presence of the knife. Individual and situational factors influence a person’s cognitive states via some routes (Gilbert, Daffern, & Anderson, 2017). 

Johnson’s actions can be said to have been as a result of the impact that his personal and situational factors had on his cognitive functioning. For instance, the exposure to violent videos heightened violent contemplations, which are key drivers to such heinous acts. Additionally, Johnson’s actions are triggered by an arousal route, which entails the tendency of stimulation from an irrelevant source, such as the extreme violent videos, in this case, to strengthen aggression. The routes create an aggressive internal state which results in detrimental outcomes such as murder, as a result of aggressive acts. 

Allen, Anderson, & Bushman (2018), the case study discussed above can be categorized as reactive and proactive aggression. Allen, Anderson, & Bushman (2018) argue that reactive aggression is usually done as a reaction to a certain incitement. Additionally, this type of aggression is usually impetuous and is reinforced by a feeling of anger. This category of aggression is highly applicable to the case study. Johnson acts impulsively by stabbing his friends since he feels that their behavior is against his faith. Additionally, Johnson’s intention to harm Brand is due to Brand's tendency of making fun of Johnson’s faith. Hence, it is justifiable to say that Johnson’s aggressive actions are as a reaction to provocation. 

According to Allen, Anderson, & Bushman (2018), proactive aggression is mostly intentional, and an individual spends a considerable amount of time planning how to hurt others. Additionally, this type of aggression is driven by goals other than the infliction of harm. Proactive aggression is very applicable to Johnson’s case. Based on the reports provided by the police, it is clear that Johnson’s actions were not impulsive, but rather deliberate and calculated. Additionally, his main goal for harming his friends is to stop them from insulting his faith. In this case, reactive and proactive aggressions have a high connection, and the drives are mixed. 

Furthermore, the general aggression model also incorporates Albert Bandura's social learning theory. According to Allen, Anderson, & Bushman (2018), Banduras theory argues that violent behavior does not only occur via direct experience but observational learning as well. For instance, the police attributed Johnson’s behavior to the exposure to violent Muslim Videos. According to Bandura, such exposure may impact aggressive behaviors. In the process of social leering, one does not only imitate his/her observations but rather, he/she makes mental inferences based on what they have seen, which can result into transformations in beliefs and behavior. The theory is effective in explaining Johnson’s aggressive behavior. 

Preventative Strategies 

It is crucial for better strategies to eradicate aggressive videos from social platforms to be developed, to prevent individuals from the negative influences of these videos, which may jeopardize safety in the society. Websites such as YouTube should employ new advancements in technology to inhibit people from uploading extremely aggressive content. Consequently, such strategies would inhibit the exposure of individuals to content that may gravely influence their behavior. 


Aggressive acts have become rampant in the modern world. The increase in aggressive individuals can be attributed to the fact that people are exposed to a variety of videos which are characterized by high aggression levels, influencing violent dispositions. Scientists argue that the major drivers of aggression are personal and situational factors. Furthermore, aggressive videos heighten the observer’s aggression, which results in impulsive acts. Therefore, it is critical for social platforms to devise better methods for detecting and excluding violent videos from their sites. Consequently, this would be effective in preventing the occurrence of murders, and other dreadful acts. 


Allen, J. J., Anderson, C. A., & Bushman, B. J. (2018). The general aggression model.  

Current opinion in psychology 19 , 75-80. 

Gilbert, F., Daffern, M., & Anderson, C. A. (2017). The General Aggression Model and 

It's application to violent offender assessment and treatment.  The Wiley Handbook 

of Violence and Aggression , 1-13. 

Weber, C., 2018). Grand jury indicts teen on a murder charge in boy's stabbing death.

Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved from:

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/palm-beach/fl-pn-teen-stabbings-murder-indictment- 20180322-story.html#

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