Discuss the role of neural and/or hormonal mechanisms in aggression (9+16)

It seems clear that neural and hormonal mechanisms do have an influence on the levels of aggression each individual possesses. There is research to suggest that hormones can affect levels of aggression. In addition, the brain structure and our neurotransmitters can be directly accountable for the rise in aggression in some cases.

To start, research suggests that there is a neural mechanism between the hypothalamus and the amygdale that highlights the idea that there is a neural mechanism that influences levels of aggression. Research was conducted into cats, whereby the findings suggested that rage was a result of detachment between the high and lower levels of the brain. They then concluded that the hypothalamus was directly related to increasing levels of aggression, whereas the frontal cortex is responsible for reducing it. This reinforces the idea that there are neural factors effecting levels of aggression. Further evidence supporting this claim was conducted by Mitchell. He found that psychopaths he researched showed higher levels of aggression when their amygdale was damaged, highlighting the relationship between the neural mechanisms and levels of aggression.

Other neural factors that have been found to effect levels of aggression are research into neurotransmitters. This research suggests that serotonin release in the brain has an influence on the levels of aggression one shows. There is large evidence to support this claim, for example, Lenard found that monkeys with high levels of serotonin spent more time being affectionate and grooming rather than showing aggressive behaviour. These findings support the claims that serotonin may be directly related to aggressive behaviour. Further, supporting research found that foxes that had been tamed to show lower levels of aggression had higher levels of serotonin in their bodies. This further reinforces the idea of serotonin and aggression. The problem however with this supporting research is that it was conducted on animals. As a result, it is not generalisable to humans as our genetic makeup differs,


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