On Aggression

Front Cover
Routledge, 1996 - Psychology - 273 pages
First published in the 1960s, On Aggression has been the target of criticism and controversy ever since. It is not Lorenz's careful descriptions of animal behaviour that are contentious, but his extrapolations to the human world that have caused reverberations resulting in a statement adopted by UNESCO in 1989 and subsequently endorsed by the American Psychological Association that appears to condemn his work. But does On Aggression actually make the claims implicit in the Seville statement?
In a new introduction by Professor Eric Salzen, the debate about Lorenz's work is set in its social and political context and his claims and those of his critics reassessed. Human aggression has not lessened since this seminal work first appeared and there are no convincing new solutions. On Aggression should be read by all new students and re-read by more experienced scholars so that the important evidence he presents from ethnology may be reappraised in the light of the most recent research.

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About the author (1996)

Konrad Lorenz was an Austrian zoologist whose specialty, the biological origins of social behavior, is of major interest to psychologists. Lorenz pioneered in the direct study of animal behavior and was the founder of modern ethology (the study of animals in their natural surroundings). He received the Nobel Prize for physiology in 1973 for his research on instinctive behavior patterns and on imprinting---the process through which an animal very early in life acquires a social bond, usually with its parents, that enables it to become attached to other members of its own species. His major book, "On Aggression" (1963), was attacked by many anthropologists, psychologists, and sociologists, who maintained that Lorenz's claim that aggression is inborn means that it cannot be controlled. His supporters countered that Lorenz never stated that inborn traits could not be changed. Lorenz's work continues to play a key role in this contemporary version of the nature-nurture debate.

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