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Slide 1

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The Role of Neural and Hormonal
Mechanisms in Aggression…read more

Slide 2

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The Role of Neurotransmitters
· The neurotransmitter serotonin influences aggressive
· In research with Vervet monkeys,
reducing serotonin levels increases
aggressive behaviour, whereas
increasing serotonin decreases aggression.
· Drugs which raise serotonin levels have been given to
juvenile delinquents and unpredictable institutionalised
The relationships found So... the higher the serotonin level, the
here are lower the aggression.
are the weaknesses of
correlational research?…read more

Slide 3

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· There is some evidence to suggest a link between high
levels of Dopamine and aggressive behaviour.
· For example, increases in dopamine
when using Amphetamines have
been associated with increased
· Also Antipsychotics which reduce
dopamine have been shown to
reduce aggressive behaviour in
violent delinquents.
So... the higher the Dopamine level,
the higher the aggression.…read more

Slide 4

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Hormones and Aggression -
· Beeman (1947) castrated male mice and found that
aggressiveness reduced.
· He later injected the mice with testosterone which
re-established their aggressiveness.
· Castration has since been used as a method for
making domestic and farm animals more
manageable.…read more

Slide 5

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Testosterone is also clearly related
to aggression in humans.
· Dabbs et al (1995) ­ measured
testosterone in saliva of 692 adult
male prisoners. Found higher
levels in rapists and violent
offenders than in burglars and
· Dabbs et al (1996) ­ looked at 12
fraternities in 2 universities.
Members of fraternities with
highest levels of testosterone were
But remember these are described as boisterous and
correlations and what
do we know about
macho, those with lowest were
correlations?.. attentive and helpful.…read more

Slide 6

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The same effects of
testosterone are also found
in women.
· Dabbs et al (1988) ­ female
prisoners. Testosterone
highest in cases of
unprovoked violence but
lowest where violence was
defensive (eg. In domestic Other research has found
conflicting results, but this is to do
abuse cases) with the operationalisation of
`aggression' and sampling
methods.…read more


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