Biology Does Not Make Men More Aggressive Than Women
V. The Complex Relation of Human Aggression to Animal Aggression Page 8

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

Since the first and third assumptions are contradicted, the second assumption is no longer so critical for our examination of the myth that male monopolization of warfare is biologically determined. That is, since male animals are not generally more aggressive than females, and since human institutional behavior is not necessarily a reflection of individual behavior, it does not seem so important if human individual aggression is homologous to that of other animals. However, the question deserves to be addressed.

One must begin with a careful distinction between institutional behavior and individual behavior. We have already seen that institutional behavior includes male monopolization of war and war-related activities, while individual behavior, outside of an institutional context, does not show such a gender difference. In general we may say that the institutionalized behavior of humans has no homologue in animals. By this I mean not only war, but also the complex hierarchical structures, as well as the informal, largely nonverbal systems of communication which, as mentioned earlier, have been described by Henley and many others.

Individual human behavior, on the other hand, may be compared to that of other animals. To make such comparisons, one may extend the type of analysis that I have done on the homologies between the motivational systems of the laboratory rat and the macaque monkey (Adams, 1981); I found a number of motivational systems appeared to be homologous in the two species. By extension, they may be present in humans as well. Two of them involve what is commonly called aggression: offense and defense. It seems likely that offense may be represented in humans by what is commonly called "anger" and "annoyance," while defense may be represented by fear and fear-driven attack.

Basing the analysis on the data of Averill (1982, 1983), I have suggested that most human anger is the expression of an offense-motivational system homologous to that found in the rat and monkey (Adams, 1986). Although the inner part of the system, the offense-motivational mechanism, has remained similar, the outer parts have been transformed in humans. On the sensory side, the analysis of motivation stimuli is now tuned to the actions of the other person rather than to their attributes. In particular, an analysis is made as to whether these actions are "just" or "fair." This obviates the importance of hormonal effects which are prevalent in other animal species and which affect the analysis of the attributes of the opponent, in particular the attribute of androgen- or estrogen-dependent pheromones. On the motor side, motor patterning mechanisms in humans are dominated by verbal behavior rather than action patterns that include physical assault.

Ironically, the evidence indicates that anger against injustice, which I have suggested is a human homologue of animal offense, is a critical component to the consciousness development of peace activists (Adams, 1986). Since anger against injustice, as shown in the data of Averill (1982, 1983), is as pronounced in women as in men, there is no reason to suggest that it underlies the gender difference in human warfare and its related social institutions.

(End of chapter)

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