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Neural and hormonal explanations of aggression

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on 6 January 2014

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Transcript of Neural and hormonal explanations of aggression

A2 Psychology
Neural and hormonal explanations of aggression
Dopamine
it is thought that high levels lead to an increase in aggression. Drugs which increase dopamine levels have been found to aggression levels and vice versa.
Hormonal
high levels of testosterone are thought to lead to aggression
during puberty testosterone levels increase and so does aggression
link between hormones and behaviours is shown by PMT in court cases to explain certain behaviours

Evaluation
biologically deterministic, serotonin and dopamine control your behaviours
doesn't take into account the other factors such as external factors may influence behaviours
Serotonin
- it inhibits emotional responses therefore having lower levels of it can lead to impulsive and aggressive behaviours
- this is true for both animals and humans
- high levels of serotonin are associated with docile behaviours
Mann
gave drugs to 35 healthy ppts which reduced levels of serotonin in their bloodstream
Aggression levels were measured via a questionnaire, it was found that aggression scores were higher after taking the drug
Dabbs
found higher levels of testosterone in violent criminals than non violent
However
this has gender bias as men were only tested so cannot said to be the same for women
self report measures are unreliable due to social desirability effect
However
it's hard to extrapolate findings to humans
causal link was not established only correlation so there could be other factors reducing aggression
Popora
animal research supports serotonin link
animals selectively bread for docile temperaments were found to have higher levels of serotonin
Wanger
the findings are correlation, it could be argued that aggression leads to high levels of testosterone
External validity is reduced as the study was only conducted on criminals in prison, and so it is not representative of the wider population.
However
found that levels of aggression in mice were lower after castration. When given testosterone after, levels of aggression then increased.
this produced a correlation link, suggesting that the cause of aggression is much more complex
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