biological explanations for aggression

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  • Created on: 31-12-12 15:21
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  • Biological explanations of aggression
    • neurotransmitters
      • low levels of serotonin
        • A02 -Raleigh et al fed monkeys on high tryptophan diets (increases serotonin) found decreased aggression.
        • A02 - Bond  found anti-depressant drugs that elevate serotonin levels reduce impulse aggression and irritability.
      • slight link between high levels of dopamine and aggressive
        • A02 - Couppis & Kennedy dopamine is positive reinforcer in mice for engaging in a aggressive event. They will intentionally seek it out.
    • hormones
      • testosterone
        • A02 - Albert et al found no relationship between testosterone and aggression - those that did had small samples and self reports
        • A02/AID - Gender bias - most studies use males.
          • A02 - Archer et  al - women with higher testosterone levels has higher occupational status, (may be more assertive?)
      • cortisol's mediating effect
        • A02 - McBurnett et al - boys with low cortisol began anti-social acts at a younger age and exhibited 3 times number of aggressive symptoms
    • genetic factors
      • MAOA  - Could be a gene for aggression
        • A02 - Brunner - violent dutch family - men had abnormally low levels of MAOA and a defect to the gene
      • twin and adoption studies
        • A02 - Hutchings & Mednick, in 14,000 adoptions boys with criminal convictions had genetic parents with convictions also. - biological
        • A02- Coccaro  found in a twin studiy,  a 50% variance in direct aggressive behavior could be attributed to genetic factors
      • Methodoclogical issues - studies fail to distinguish between violent and non violent (on off crime) making it more difficult to untangle the role of genes
    • IDA
      • links between biological mechanisms ie. serotonin and testosterone with aggression are well established in non human animals but not so clear in humans - may not be sufficient to explain certain aspects of aggression
        • Reductionism
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