Neural and Hormonal

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  • Neural and Hormonal Mechanisms in Aggression
    • NEURAL
      • BRAIN INJURIES - Phineas Gage (pole). After this he became aggressive. Aggression related to frontal lobe?
        • PROBLEM - brain damage or chemical changes in brain? Also, damage may have been to other parts of brain, not just frontal lobe.
      • AMYGDALA - neural processes surrounding amygdala can cause aggressive changes. Amygdala recognising others' emotions.
        • REMOVAL OF AYGDALA - when the amygdala is removed, it reduces aggression. Does not directly cause aggression but gives empathy.(Blair et al, 2001)
      • PSYCHOPATHY - Blackwood (2012): Psychopaths have lack of grey areas in brain that are important to understanding others' emotions.
      • SEROTONIN-  reduces aggression.
        • NON-HUMAN STUDIES - Raleigh et al (1991): monkeys fed diets high in tryptophan, increases serotonin. Showed decreased levels of aggression and vise versa.
        • ANTIDEPRESSANTS - antidepressants raise serotonin levels, reducing aggression.
      • DOPAMINE - increases aggression
        • INFLUENCE - influence of this may be a consequence of aggression rather than cause.
      • TESTOSTERONE - impacts areas thought to be involved with aggression.
        • DABBS ET AL (1987): measured saliva of criminals and non-criminals. The higher the tesosterone, more chance of person having history of violence.
        • LINDMAN ET AL (1987): young males who behaved aggressively when drunk had higher testosterone levels.
        • CHALLENGE HYPOTHESIS - Wingfield et al (1990) testosterone rises in social challenges e.g. over a female.
        • INCONSISTENT EVIDENCE - Albert et al (1993) no such relationship between testos. and agg. Most studies showing pos. correlations are done with prisoners using self-report - unreliable.
        • AGGRESSION OR DOMINANCE? - Mazur (1985): aggression used to inflict injury. Dominance to maintain status.
        • GENDER BIAS - studies mainly focus on males, but testosterone is also important in females.
      • CORTISOL - high levels of cortisol inhibit testosterone and therefore aggression.
        • MCBURNETT ET AL (2000): supported with boys with behaviour problems. Low cortisol levels leads to antisocial behaviour.


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