|art by Scott Cook|
“a behavior that operates on the environment to produce a change, effect, or consequence…particular responses increase or decrease in a situation as a function of the consequences they produced in the past” (356).
“aggressive behavior that is reinforced (increased) by removal of an aversive event arranged by another member of the species” (356).
“When one person punishes another’s behavior, the punished individual may retaliate. This is not difficult to understand; one way to escape from punishment is to eliminate or neutralize the person who is delivering it (Azrin & Holz, 1966). This strategy is called operant aggression, and it is shaped and maintained by negative reinforcement (i.e., removal of punishment). When two people have a fistfight, the winner of the combat is reinforced by the absence or reduction of punches from the other person. Unfortunately, this analysis suggests that physical aggression will increase in frequency for people who successfully use counteraggression to stop the punishment arranged by others.”
We can see the evidence of this in just about every sector of this world system as aggressive behavior – either overt or covert – continues to proliferate at an ever-increasing rate, especially when considering the correlation between aggression and fear of survival, wherein we as human beings are resorting to severe acts of aggression upon ourselves, others, and this planet as a whole in an attempt to compete in a world system that pretty much demands aggressive behavior in some way or another or else we are seen as weak, not ruthless enough to rise from the ranks – and thus our options at survival become limited. The accumulation of money which is gained through aggressive behavior creates a false sense of relief, yet this relief becomes the reinforcement which increases the probability of aggressive behavior repeating in the future. The equation gets bigger and bigger as the more aggression, the bigger payout. Just look at the nature of war as a stark example.