Description: I have posted previously on the topic of smash rooms (places where, for a fee, you can go and smash things with hammers, bats or whatever you want). The video linked below shows a similar opportunity where groups of people can go to a junkyard and, while wearing appropriate protective gear, smash of car to pieces with hammers and pry bars. Why might people want to do this? To relieve stress? To get aggressive impulses out of their systems? To team build? As a pre-wedding (stag or stagette) party event? The owners of this smashing opportunity enterprise touts it as a stress and aggression relieving opportunity, suggesting it could reduce road rage and other forms of aggression. From a Psychological perspective what do you think? Maybe factor in the fact that many college or professional sports teams have provided their fans with an opportunity (for money for charity) to have a few hammer bashes at a junker painted with the logos and colors of the team their team is about to play. Does THAT sound like something intended to calm people down and reduce aggressive thoughts and tendencies? So, reflect for a minute on what you think such businesses or events might do for us and then have a look at the video which also contains some psychology commentary.
Source: The place where you can smash up cars for fun. Anna Holligan, BBC News
Date: January 3, 2019
Photo Credit: BBC News
Article Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-europe-46740465/the-place-where-you-can-smash-up-cars-for-fun?intlink_from_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.com%2Fnews%2Ftopics%2Fcz4pr2gdge5t%2Fpsychology&link_location=live-reporting-map
The theory that taking advantage of these sorts of opportunities to safely behave aggressively might be good for use goes way back to Freudian theory. Freud believed that such safe opportunities for behaving aggressively (we might say to let off some steam) are good for us as they reduce our aggressive tendencies. The problem with this view is that it basically supports the notion that aggressiveness is an inevitable part of the human experience and that it is rather hard to control. As the Psychologist in the video posed, what if people smash a car and find that they REALLY like being aggressive? Perhaps some thinking about mindfulness and managing our frustrations, stresses and aggressiveness might be in order? You can look through some of the classic debates on this issue in the articles linked in the References section below.
Questions for Discussion:
- What might smashing a car, safely and on purpose, do for you that could be positive?
- What might smashing a car, safely and on purpose, do for you that could be negative?
- How should we think about the place and role of aggression in human psychological functioning and adaptation?
References (Read Further):
Miller, N. E. (1941). I. The frustration-aggression hypothesis. Psychological review, 48(4), 337.
Sears, R. R. (1941). II. Non-aggressive reactions to frustration. Psychological Review, 48(4), 343. http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/FrustAgg/sears.htm
Berkowitz, L. (1989). Frustration-aggression hypothesis: Examination and reformulation. Psychological bulletin, 106(1), 59. https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.321.3829&rep=rep1&type=pdf
Allen, J. J., Anderson, C. A., & Bushman, B. J. (2018). The general aggression model. Current opinion in psychology, 19, 75-80. http://www.craiganderson.org/wp-content/uploads/caa/abstracts/2015-2019/17AA.pdf