PSYA3 biological explanation of AGGRESSION

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Biological Explanations of Aggression
Low levels of serotonin. Lower your levels of serotonin the more susceptible you are to
aggressive behaviour and the less calm/controlled you will be.
"Mann"dexfenfluramine is a substance that he injected into his healthy participants
to deplete the levels of serotonin. He then gave them a questionnaire to assess
hostility levels. He found they scored highly on a hostility rate. This didn't happen in
Research Support: "Raleigh" fed a sample of monkeys a high diet of trytophan
which increases levels on serotonin in the brain. Aggression levels therefore

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Biological Explanations of Aggression
High levels of Dopamine. Not as well established a Serotonin. "Lavine" suggested
that there is an association between people on amphetamines and an increase in aggression.
Dopamine = puts you into a high state of physical arousal.
Research Support: "Buitelaar" violent juvenile delinquents. If you give them anti
psychotics to reduce dopamine anti social behaviour is reduced
Male sex hormone testosterone (high levels) Acts on certain areas of the brain which
control aggressive behaviours.…read more

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Biological Explanations of Aggression
Testing prisoners so not a representative sample
High scientific credibility which gives it status
Social Psychologists would say that aggression is learnt rather than down to
biology.…read more

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Biological Explanations of Aggression
Cant explain discrepancy between the way males and females display aggression
Cause and effect? E.g does aggression cause low levels of serotonin or do low
levels of serotonin cause aggression? There is only a clear correlation but no
cause and effect.
Individual differences are not taken into account.…read more

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Biological Explanations of Aggression
Deterministic- takes away free will therefore excuses aggressive behaviour
Reductionistic, fails to address other factors such as genetics and childhood
experiences.…read more


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