Unit 3- Psychology aggression biological approach

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Biological explanations of aggression 

The biological explanation suggests that aggression is physiological. This explanation causes on the role played out by genetics, neurotransmitters and hormones. /

Neurotransmitters- Serotonin

· A normal level of serotonin has an inhibition effect on areas of the brain, i.e. regulates mood hence increasing an individual’s ability to control aggressive impulses. Therefore, lower levels of serotonin may lead to a reduced ability to control aggressive impulses. /

· Mann et al (1990) found that reducing the levels of serotonin increased hostility and aggression in male participants through the use of questionnaires. This supports the claim that lower levels of serotonin cause aggression. //

· There are some issues with the use of self-report techniques. It could be argued that women may have lied on the questionnaire because women do not want to be seen as aggressive and hostile. This suggests social desirability bias hence findings may have low validity. //

· Furthermore, levels of serotonin were artificially reduced. This suggests that it could have been the sudden change in neurotransmitter levels that caused aggression rather than serotonin itself. //

· Mann et al’s findings could suggest that increasing serotonin levels would reduce aggression. This is supported by Caccaro and Kavoussi (1997). It was found that the use of Prozac, which is thought to increase serotonin levels by blocking reuptake, reduced aggression. This supports the neurotransmitter explanation because it shows that higher levels of serotonin increase control over aggressive impulses. //

· However, the function of Prozac is not known for sure. This suggests that it might not have an effect on serotonin levels at all. This suggests that findings may have reduced validity. //

An issue with the serotonin explanation is that it does not consider the number of receptors. Serotonin cannot have any effect on the brain if it is not taken up by receptors. Therefore, this needs to be addressed. //

To address this it could be considered necessary to…


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