Neural and hormonal mechanisms in aggression

  • Created by: KCharlish
  • Created on: 15-04-16 20:16

AO1 1 - Serotonin

Serotonin = reduce aggression by inhibiting responses to emotional stimuli that may have otherwise led to an aggressive response

Low levels of the brain (pre frontal cortex) has been linked with more impulsive behaviours

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AO2 1 Mann

  • 35 healthy subjects a drug that depleted serotonin levels.
  • Measured aggression based on hostility scores measured by a questionnaire.
  • Lower levels of serotonin found to be associated with increased levels of aggression in males but not females.
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AO1 2 Dopamine

High levels of dopamine are believed to cause aggression.

Support = use of amphetamie drugs which have been shown to increase aggression levels in normal people.

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AO2 2 Anti psychotics

  • Schizophrenics
  • anti psychotics - reduce dopamine levels
  • reduce aggression
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AO2 3 Couppis and Kennedy

  • dopamine is produced as a response to rewarding stimuli
  • Couppis et al
    • some individuals may intentionally seek out aggressive encounters because of the dopamine release they are rewarded with
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AO1 3 Testosterone

  • high levels increase aggression
  • When testosterone levels peak around the start of puberty - peak in aggression levels
  • suggests a correlational link
  • cannot be sure of cause and effect
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AO1 4 Cortisol

  • mediating effect on hormones such as testosterone
  • higher levels increase anxiety and inhibits testosterone levels
  • violent offenders have lower levels
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AO2 4 Raleigh

  • fed vervet monkeys diets that increased or decreased serotonin level
  • decreased serotonin - more aggressive behaviour
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AO2 5 Scerbo and Raine

  • Meta analysis examining neurotransmitter levels in in anti social children and adults.
  • lower levels of serotonin were found in aggressive individuals
  • no difference in dopamine levels
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AO2 6 Reductionist

  • link between neural mechanisms criticised for being reductionist.
  • complexity of human behaviour means biological explanations are insufficiant on their own to explain aspects of human aggression.
  • e.g. Bandura found that SL has a powerful influence on aggression in children
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AO2 7 Albert

  • link between T and A is inconclusive
  • Albert - many studies showing a possible correlation are based on small samples of men in prisons using self reports
  • Lack internal validity
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Ao2 8 McBurnett

Importance of cortisol

  • McBurnett et al
    • children with low cortisol levels were 3x more likely to be aggressive sooner than those with higher levels
  • However link is correlational
  • can not be certain of cause and effect - unknown variables may be responsible
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IDA Gender bias

  • most research based on male participants
  • generalisation to women is not always possible
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