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Discuss biological explanations of aggression

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Introduction

´╗┐Discuss biological explanations of aggression Biological explanations of aggression include testosterone and cortisol. Testosterone is thought to act on areas of the brain which control aggression from young adulthood onwards; it is also thought to be a primary biochemical influence on aggression. Cortisol mediates hormones such as testosterone. High levels of cortisol inhibit testosterone and so inhibit aggression, so low levels of cortisol are associated with increased aggression. Research to support testosterone is Dabbs et al. (1987), they pooled together date from two groups of prisoners, and then measured their testosterone levels in the salvia of 692 adult male prisoners. They found inmates who committed crimes of sex and violence had higher testosterone levels than inmates who were incarcerated for property crimes or drug abuse. ...read more.

Middle

Another biological explanation of aggression is the ?warrior gene?. The ?warrior gene?, (MAO-A), has been associated with increased aggression, this is because it produces monoamine oxidase, a chemical which is involved in the breakdown of neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norpine. By having too little of the ?warrior gene? leads to the brain being flooded with too much serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, leading to lowered sensitivity to neurotransmitters, low sensitivity is equivalent to low activity. Research to support the ?warrior gene? was done by Moffat et al. (2002). They did a longitudinal study of 422 males in New Zealand, he studied their history of abuse and criminal convictions, their penchant for violence and any symptoms of anti-social personality disorder. ...read more.

Conclusion

only looks at New Zealand so the males in that culture may be different to males in other countries and cultures, also meaning it cannot be generalised or representative to other cultures or females. The high levels of testosterone theory is reductionist because it takes the complex explanation of aggression and says it is all because of this one hormone, testosterone, also, it does not take into account any external factors, such as previous experiences of aggression. One issue with the ?warrior gene? is that it is deterministic. This is because it doesn?t take into account any external factors, just says that no matter what, this gene will make people behave or act aggressively if they have suffered abuse as a child, meaning that the behaviours are determined by this gene and not free will. S ...read more.

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