AQA A Psychology PSYA3 Neural and Hormonal Mechanisms in Aggression

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Preview of AQA A Psychology PSYA3 Neural and Hormonal Mechanisms in Aggression

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Neural and Hormonal Mechanisms in Aggression
A chemical that enables impulses within brain for travel
Low levels of Serotonin and high levels of Dopamine associated with aggression in animals and
Reduce aggression by inhibiting response to emotional stimuli that could cause aggression
Low levels of serotonin ­ increased susceptibility to impulse behaviour, aggression and violent
Some drugs thought to alter serotonin ­ increase aggressive behaviour
Mann ­ 35 healthy subjects dexfenfluramine ­ depletes serotonin ­ in males was associated with
increase of aggression and hostility ­ BUT NOT FEMALES ­ found through questionnaire to
assess aggression and hostility levels
Not as well established as serotonin
Lavine increase of dopamine through amphetamines associated with increase in aggressive
Buitelaar antipsychotics that reduce dopamine levels show to reduce aggressive behaviour in violent
Hormonal Mechanisms
Influences aggression on young males due to action on brain areas involved in controlling aggression
Dabbs ­ measured salivary testosterone in violent and nonviolent criminals. Those with higher levels
did have a history of violent crime, lower levels nonviolent crimes
Lindman ­ young males who were aggressive when drunk ­ higher testosterone levels than those
who did not when drunk
Wingfield ­ the challenge hypothesis ­ in monogamous species, levels should only rise above
baseline breeding level in response to social challenge (e.g male v male and threat to status). Rise in
testosterone if threat is deemed relevant to reproductive competition (dispute over female)
Dabbs Increases anxiety and likelihood of social withdrawal
High levels inhibit testosterone levels so will inhibit aggression
Virkkunen ­ found this in habitual offenders
Tennes and Kreye ­ found this in violent school children
Meta Analysis

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Archer ­ results of 230 males over five studies ­ found low positive correlation between
testosterone and aggression. However, type of participant and form and measurement of aggression
differed substantially between studies
Book ­ 45 meta analysis ­ mean correlation of 0.14 between testosterone and aggression, although
Archer clams that methodological problems with study meant correlation of 0.08 more appropriate
Scerbo and Raine ­ 29 studies published before 1992 examined neurotransmitter levels in antisocial
children and adults.…read more

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Mazur ­ suggests we should distinguish aggression from dominance ­ aggression = violence,
dominance = social status
Also claims aggression just a type of dominance behaviour
Nonhuman animals ­ influence of testosterone levels expressed through aggressive behaviour
Humans however, influence of testosterone on dominance likely expressed in more varied and subtle
ways (e.…read more


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