Psychology - The role of the brain and aggression

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What is the amygdala?
A brain structure thought to be involved in aggression
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What is the limbic system?
An area of the brain involved in emotion
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What is the role of the limbic system?
The limbic system is called the 'emotional area' of the brain because it is responsible for emotions needed for survival, like fear and aggression.
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What is the role of the amygdala?
The amygdala is a structure in the brain that recognises emotion. If someone smiles we know they are happy, and if they frown we know they are sad. The amygdala also creates emotional responses. The amygdala is responsible for producing aggression
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Name one case study that links aggression and the amygdala.
King (1961) described a case of a woman whose amygdala was electrically stimulated during an operation. She became threatening and verbally aggressive until the electrical current was turned off.
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Outline one problem with animal studies.
Humans and animal brains are similar, but not similar enough for us to make a direct comparison. The problem with using animal studies as evidence is that they are very different to humans.
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Describe a biological cause for aggression.
Damage to the amygdala may cause increased levels of aggression.
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Describe one source of evidence that supports the idea that aggression has a biological cause.
In 1966 Charles Whitman killed 15 people. He left behind a note asking doctors to examine is brain as he was convinced that something was making him aggressive. He was found to have a brain tumour pressing against his amygdala.
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Explain one problem with the source of evidence you have described.
Case studies are unreliable, it is not definite that this was the cause. The reason for his aggression may have been unique to him. Aggression could equally be explained by the way children copy the media.
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Card 2

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What is the limbic system?

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An area of the brain involved in emotion

Card 3

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What is the role of the limbic system?

Back

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Card 4

Front

What is the role of the amygdala?

Back

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Card 5

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Name one case study that links aggression and the amygdala.

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