Biological Explanations Of Aggression

There is research to support the role of the Amygdala as a Neural mechanism in aggression.
Muller et al : 6 psychopaths recruited from a high security psychiatric facility, mean age 33, 6 controls, mean age 28. Controlled EVs: substance abuse, head injury, depression. Showed them positive and negative pictures, measured brain activity. MRI
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Results
When the psychopaths were looking at the negative pictures they had an increased activation in their Amygdala compared to the controls. Shows aggression is caused by or linked to activation on the Amygdala.
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However, most of the research into neural and hormonal mechanisms is correlational in nature.
Unethical to manipulate biological responses in humans. Damage to prefrontal cortex, high levels of testosterone to see biological manipulations. P's usually aggressive when studied so wouldnt know cause and effect.
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This means that...
Psychologists can only study the relationship between the mechanisms and aggression and not identify cause and effect. We dont know if the cause of aggression is neural and hormonal mechanisms. Maybe activation in these areas are effect of being agg
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In order to establish a casual relationship, animal studies have being used.
Wagner: male mice, castrated them to reduce testosterone. Showed lower levels of aggression. Shows hormonal mechanisms can be manipulated in animals to see if biological mechanisms has an effect on behaviour, so can say they cause agg in animals.
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However...
Humans and animals are physiologically and cognitively different so must generalise with caution due to humans having higher soical and moral constrainst, which will effect amount of agg they show. Animals are driven by biology more than humans.
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Therefore...
It is possible that biological mechanisms are the cause of aggression shown in animals but cannot in humans so must be careful when saying that biology causes aggression in all humans.
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The biological explanation of aggression is deterministic.
Suggests people are agg because they are made that way. Ignores free will to act agg or not, not made to be agg due to chemicals or damage in the brain. Biological increase chances of agg, still have free will. Consequences.
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Therefore...
This explanation is limited, as it ignores that humans have free will to act agg or not. Saying it is down to biology takes the blame away and gives an excuse to any aggressive act commited. So is deterministic and potentially dangerous.
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In addition, it is possible that social psychological factors have an influence on aggressive behaviour.
Bandura: Agg is learnt and imitated due to the enviroment. Psychopaths may learn to be agg because they have been raised y psychopaths rather than inheriting it. Especially if they have witnessed other agg people being rewarded.
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Therefore...
The neural and hormonal mechanisms explanation is limited as it doesnt consider other influences such as the enviroment to cause agg. Impossible to say someone is agg purely due to biology. Biology and enviroment interact together to make P agg.
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Card 2

Front

When the psychopaths were looking at the negative pictures they had an increased activation in their Amygdala compared to the controls. Shows aggression is caused by or linked to activation on the Amygdala.

Back

Results

Card 3

Front

Unethical to manipulate biological responses in humans. Damage to prefrontal cortex, high levels of testosterone to see biological manipulations. P's usually aggressive when studied so wouldnt know cause and effect.

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

Psychologists can only study the relationship between the mechanisms and aggression and not identify cause and effect. We dont know if the cause of aggression is neural and hormonal mechanisms. Maybe activation in these areas are effect of being agg

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

Wagner: male mice, castrated them to reduce testosterone. Showed lower levels of aggression. Shows hormonal mechanisms can be manipulated in animals to see if biological mechanisms has an effect on behaviour, so can say they cause agg in animals.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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