Chapter

The Male Flash of Anger: Violent Response to Transgression as an Example of the Intersection of Evolved Psychology and Culture

Daniel M. T. Fessler

in Missing the Revolution

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195130027
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199893874 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195130027.003.0003
The Male Flash of Anger: Violent Response to Transgression as an Example of the Intersection of Evolved Psychology and Culture

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The male flash of anger illustrates how evolutionary psychology and cultural anthropology provide complementary components in vertically integrated explanations. Anger is a response to transgression and accounts for the age- and sex-biased distribution of violent risk-taking behavior. Evolutionary psychology also provides an ultimate explanation for the processes occurring at the level of the neurotransmitter: childhood experience influences adult risk-taking propensities, while culturally-constituted socialization practices and interactional patterns shape childhood experience, inscribing culturally-preferred responses to transgression on individual actors; these tacit lessons are further reinforced by overt morally weighted cultural schemas and lexicons. Cultural group selection can occur because those systems that most successfully meet the challenges posed by the socioecological setting are most likely to prosper and spread. Because any given system is the product of unique historical events, even dysfunctional beliefs and practices may persist.

Keywords: anger; emotion; anthropology; evolutionary psychology; culture; vertical integration; child socialization; cultural group selection; social emotion; honor cultures

Chapter.  7264 words. 

Subjects: Psychology

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