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Biological Explanations of Aggression - GCSE Psychology

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Kieran Hudspith

on 28 February 2013

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Transcript of Biological Explanations of Aggression - GCSE Psychology

Aggression What is it?
Biological Explanations Case Study Raine (1997) Brain Disease Charles Whitman What did this show? Conclusion Method Results Aim Hormonal Limbic System Chromosomal
Abnormality's Different Causes It is widely accepted that males are much more aggressive than males, so because of this, hormones are thought to be responsible as there are large differences between the hormones for males and females. The biggest difference is the males have much more Testosterone than woman. As a results, this is thought to be the cause of Aggression in males. This is supported by findings that show violent criminals to have much higher levels of Testosterone compared to non-violent criminals. Another difference between violent and non-violent criminals is a chromosomal abnormality. There is a higher proportion of men with an extra Y chromosome amongst violent offenders.
When the 23rd chromosome fails to divide, men end up with an extra Y chromosome, resulting in an XYY arrangement. This has effects such as, making males more aggressive The limbic system is the part our brain that controls aggressive, sexual and our eating behaviour. It is thought that if that if this part of our brain interacts with different parts of the brain, it heightens our levels of aggression. This is controlled by the Prefrontal Cortex, the part of the brain that is involved in social and moral behaviour. Raine wanted to investigate the brains of murders. To do so, Raine give 41 murders in California a PET scan and compared them with a similar group of non-murders



PET Scan: a technique to show how the brain is working by imaging it while the patient is carrying out a mental task Raine's results showed that there was some differences, for example activity in the Pre-Frontal Cortex of the murderers was lower than in the non-murderers Raine Concluded that when the Pre-Frontal Cortex (and other parts of the brain) is not working normally, it can lead to people committing violent crimes. In 1966, Charles Whitman climbed up the clock tower at the University of Texas and shot 12 people with a high-powered rifle. This was the last of series of aggressive acts he committed throughout this adult life. After he was killed by the Texas rangers, a post-mortem revealed he had a tumour pressing on the part of his brain that causes aggressive behaviour, the limbic system. From this, it showed us that abnormality's in the brain, such as a tumour or brain disease, can affect either the Limbac System or the Prefrontal Cortex and that this may lead to abnormally high levels of aggression How can we Reduce it? Drugs One way suggested to decrease levels of aggression - for example, if in this case we look into ADHD. If there is a drug to control the ADHD, it should be possible to stop the aggressive behavior. For patients with ADHD, the drug Ritalin is used; this stimulates the activity in the brain (in this case, the prefrontal cortex), which reduces aggressive behavior caused by ADHD by controlling the aggressive instincts caused by the limbic system Psychosurgery Psychosurgery is an alternative method of dealing with brain disease - it is done by either destroying or removing the part of the brain that is not functioning properly. This can be done by inserting a probe to a very precise location and heating up the end to kill the nerves. This is used as a last resort as, once the the brain tissue has been destroyed, and this surgery is very prone to accidents, it will not grow back and so, the results are permanent
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