Biological explanation of aggression

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  • Created on: 12-01-13 16:40
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SEROTONIN - neurotransmitter known to exert calming affect and maintaing mood. Low levels linked to aggressive behavior.
MONKEY STUDY - Natural environment study of rhesus monkeys. Males with low serotonin more likely to fights, have most scars and
wounds and be dead by age 6. Aggressive monkeys take more risks such as picking fights they cannot possibly win and jumping from
trees high than 7 meters. Can be extrapolated to people.
STUDY - violent offenders had lower than average serotonin turnover.
STUDY - MANN injected dexfenfluramine into Ps to deplete S levels, then given questionnaire to asses their hostility levels. They
scored highly hostility rate. This did not occur in the female group. Questionnaires suffer from self report measures, Ps can exaggerate
and manipulate results.
The limbic system linked to the control of emotion, evidence that one part of this system which is the amygdala influences aggression.
EVIDENCE - When the amy is stimulated directly in hamsters, they show signs of preparing to attack When animal actually aggressive
the remain on "RED ALERT" for half an hour and is more likely to attack during this time. found the
same area of the AMY that responds when stimulated was more active during red alert.
PEOPLE SEEM TO RESPOND IN THE SAME WAY - we too are `armed' to be more aggressive for 5-20 minutes after being
Lesioning the AMY in animals reduces aggressive behavior, this finding lead to attempts to control severe human aggression with a
surgical procedure to remove the AMY.
- CASE STUDY - THOMAS suffered from intermittent explosive disorder, after surgery to remove AMY he lacked violent episodes
The prefrontal cortex - people with damaged PCs more likely to fight or show threatening behavior towards other people

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EVIDENCE - PET scans compared brain activity of 41 convicted MALE murderers compared to normal males (MATCHED CONTROL)
findings showed murderers had different brain function in areas of the brain compared to the control group. murderers had reduced
activity in the PC and had abnormal activity in the AMY.…read more

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BANDURA VARIATION - repeated bobo doll study with twins and found no difference between MZ and DZ pairs suggesting
that individual differences in aggression were more the product of environmental influences such as SLT rather than
genetic factors.…read more


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