Biology Does Not Make Men More Aggressive Than Women
I. Introduction Page 1

Title Page

I. Introduction
Page 1

II. A Politically Useful Myth
Page 2

III. Institutional Is Different from Individual Behavior
Pages 3 - 4

IV. Male Animals Are Not consistently More Aggressive Than Females
Pages 5 - 6 - 7

V. The Complex Relation of Human Aggression to Animal Aggression
Page 8

VI. Conclusion
Page 9

Page 10

In 1988, the International Society for Research on Aggression formally endorsed the Seville Statement on Violence, four years after the workshops hosted by Dr. Kirsti Lagerspetz and her colleagues in Turku devoted to its planning. In a brief but important paper circulated at Seville, entitled "Are Wars Caused by Aggression?" she presented the following conclusion:

In sum, to account for war on the collective level by psychological motives and characteristics on the individual level, it is not sufficient or pertinent to mention only aggression as an explanation. ...we have mentioned fear, suggestibility, obedience, sociability, altruism, dutifulness, ambition, self-assertiveness, intelligence, language, fear of disapproval, desire for gain, search for security (fear of unemployment) and some other characteristics. Collective behavior never results from one type of motive only on the individual level.(1)

One will find almost this exact language in Proposition Five of the Seville statement, since the Lagerspetz paper was specifically used in drafting it.

The results of the work at Seville are well known. The Statement on Violence has been endorsed and disseminated by scientific and cultural organizations around the world (including UNESCO), and used effectively to counteract the myth that warfare is an inevitable result of human biology (Adams, 1989). It can be said that it prepares the ground for the construction of a vision of world peace.

In this article, I shall address an issue discussed at Seville, but not incorporated into the final Statement, by my recollection, because there was considerable controversy about it; there seemed to be no way to reach a rapid consensus, and we only had a few days to do all the necessary work. The issue concerns the obvious fact that men, not women, fight wars, and whether this fact reflects biological or cultural causes.

(1) The Lagerspetz paper circulated to the Seville signatories in preparation for their work was a draft provided at the Acapulco meetings of the International Congress of Psychological Sciences in 1984. Lagerspetz later expanded it into the paper cited in the references.

(End of chapter)

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