Neural and Hormonal Mechanisms in Aggression

  • Created by: CarlaBa
  • Created on: 19-03-19 17:21
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  • Neural & Hormonal Mechanisms in Aggression
    • Neural mechanisms
      • Limbic System
        • Papez (1937) & Maclean (1952): limbic system includes...
          • cingulate gyrus
          • hypothalamus
          • fornix
          • Amygdala
            • Strongly associated w aggression
              • Gospic et al. (2011) carried out fMRI on pts in a game which promotes aggression. Scans showed aggressive reactions were associated w a heightened response by the amygdala.
                • Bendozapine (reduces AMS arousal) taken before the game halved the number of aggressive reactions.
        • Reactivity of the limbic system predicts aggressive behaviour
        • AO3
          • Excludes other possibilities...
            • Amygdala functions in tandem w OFC to inhibit aggression.
              • Coccaro et al (2007): OFC activity reduced in aggressive patients.
      • Serotonin
        • Normal levels = inhibitory.
        • Virkkunen et al. (1994): compared levels of serotonin in violent impulsive and non impulsive offenders.
          • Serotonin levels were significantly lower in impulsive offenders.
        • Low serotonin = increased aggression
        • AO3
          • Supporting evidence: Berman et al. (2009): pts given a serotonin enhancing drug gave fewer electric shocks to a confederate.
    • Hormonal Mechanisms
      • Testosterone
        • Dolan et al (2001): positive correlation btw T levels and aggressive behaviour.
        • Animal studies show experimental increases in T related to aggressive behaviour.
          • Giammanco et al. (2005)
        • Higher in men + linked to aggression.
        • AO3
          • Plausible mechanism to explain T's effects
            • Mehta + Josephs (2006): 73% of losers (whose T levels rose) rechallenged opponent. 22% of losers (T levels fell) rechallenged.
          • Evidence in humans is mixed.
            • Carre & Mehta (2011) dual-hormone hypothesis: high T = aggression but ONLY if cortisol is low.
    • AO3
      • Research is correlational.
      • Risk of over-simplification.


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