Neural Mechanisms in Aggression

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  • Created by: aliyah007
  • Created on: 08-06-16 11:01
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  • Neural Mechanisms in Aggression
    • Various brain structures that have been implicated in aggression
      • Research has found that direct stimulation of the amygdala in hamsters produces aggressive behaviour. Amygdala is more active when they are under threat
      • These include: the amygdala, hypothalamus frontal lobe
    • Neuro-transmitters
      • Are chemicals that send messages from one area of the brain to another
        • Research suggests that 3 neurotransmitters in particular are implicated in aggression
          • Serotonin, dopamine & noradrenaline
            • Serotonin - plays a role in emotions; such as impulsive aggression
    • Raine
      • Compared brain structures using PET scans. Murderers brains more active on the right whilst control group was equal on either sides
      • Scientific validity
    • Higely
      • Studied behaviour of 28 monkeys
      • observers asked to rate the monkeys in order from the least aggressive to the most aggressive
      • They then measured the levels of serotonin by taking samples from their cerebrospinal fluid
      • A strong negative correlation was found: most aggressive monkeys had the lowest levels of serotonin
      • Anthropomorphism. Animalistic research, cannot be generalised to humans
        • Evolutionary psychologists would argue that the same basic principles would apply to all species
          • Research replicated on humans. DAVIDSON found lower levels of serotonin in violent criminals compared to non-violent ones
      • correlation does not = causation
    • Reductionist.  The interconnectedness of the brain is oversimplified
    • use of case studies: brain damaged patients - unique cases
    • Real world applications
      • If aggressive behaviour is a result of imbalanced neurotransmitter levels then we should be able to treat this by prescribing serotonin increasing drugs.
        • Successfully used in aggressive patients suffering from dementia


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