Aggression is defined as behavior aimed at causing harm or pain, psychological harm, or personal injury or physical distraction. An important aspect of aggressive behavior is the intention underlying the actor's behavior. Not all behaviors resulting in harm are considered aggression. For example, a doctor who makes an injection that harms people, but who did so with the intent of preventing the further spread of illness, is not considered to have committed an aggressive act.

Aggression can be direct or indirect, active or passive, and physical or verbal. Using these categories, human aggression can be grouped into eight classes of behavior:

• Punching the victim (direct, active, physical)

• Insulting the victim (direct, active, verbal)

• Performing a practical joke, setting a booby trap (direct, passive, physical)

• Spreading malicious gossip (direct, passive, verbal)

• Obstructing passage, participating in a sit-in (indirect, active, physical)

• Refusing to speak (indirect, active, verbal)

• Refusing to perform a necessary task (indirect, passive, physical)

Direct aggression, especially physically active aggression, is more common among animals. Actors who express indirect aggression usually feel less satisfaction, but they are also less concerned about retaliation. Passive and indirect aggression is the least noxious form. Subordinates rebelling against authority figures often use it. In the family relation it is often used by children against their parents.

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