Neural and Hormonal Mechanisms

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Neural and Hormonal Mechanisms
Neural Mechanisms look into the effects of the
Neurotransmitters on aggression behaviour. Neurotransmitters
are chemicals that enable impulses within the brain to be transmitted from
one area of the brain to another. There is evidence that low levels of
Serotonin and High levels of Dopamine are linked to aggressive
Serotonin is thought to make you happy, reducing aggression by inhibiting the responses
that would lead to aggressive behaviour. However low levels in the brain increases the
possibility of impulsive, suicidal behaviour. There also appears to be a link between
dopamine and aggression, in that high levels of dopamine can produce increase levels of
aggressive behaviour. For example, the increase in dopamine activity via the use of
amphetamines has been associated with aggressive behaviour.
Hormonal Mechanisms are chemicals that regulate and control bodily functions look
into the effects of Testosterone and Cortisol on aggressive behaviour. The male
hormone Testosterone is thought to influence aggression from young adulthood
onwards, due to its action on brain that control behavioural reactions, such as the amygdala
and the hypothalamus. Testosterone also influences the levels of other hormones which are
thought to be involved in aggression, such as vasopressin. A steroid hormone produced by
the adrenal cortex; cortisol is thought to inhibit aggression, as it appears to have a
mediating effect on other aggression related hormones such as Testosterone. Research has
found that high levels of cortisol inhibits testosterone, so therefore would inhibit
aggression. This may be due to the fact that cortisol increases anxiety and the likelihood of
social withdrawal.
There is supporting evidence for serotonin conducted by Mann et al who gave 35
participants a drug to deplete serotonin using a questionnaire to assess hostility and
aggression levels. It was found that lower levels of serotonin increased hostility and
aggression within males. However this was not the case in females. This means that
individual differences may occur.
Therefore, this research could be presented as gender bias Gender Bias as it
assumes that females are able to be judged under a male standard that the
levels of serotonin affect aggression in both men and women. It has been
established that development happens differently in males than it does in
females, therefore it ignores gender differences.

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Questionnaires were used within this study to the collect the data,
which is a simple, self-report as a large sample of people can be
questioned effectively and therefore large amounts of data can be
collected. However, there may be a problem with social desirability
answers, as people want to present themselves well, so may lie on the questions.
Further evidence for serotonin is found within animal studies. Raleigh et al fed monkeys
different diets, one that increased serotonin levels or decreased it.…read more

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Testosterone levels of aggressive in less aggressive individuals. This means that
the study lacks reliability
Some researchers suggest that we should distinguish aggression
from dominance. Aggression refers to the intent to inflict injury, while
dominance is the desire to achieve or maintain status over another.
Aggression may be just one form of dominant behaviour. The influence of
testosterone on dominance is likely to be expressed in more varied and subtle ways.…read more


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