• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss the role of neural and/or hormonal mechanisms in aggression

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐Discuss the role of neural and/or hormonal mechanisms in aggression The role of hormonal mechanisms play a significant role in aggression as high levels of testosterone and low levels of cortisol have been proven to influence aggressive behaviour. Testosterone has been thought to act on areas of the brain which control aggression from young childhood onwards because it lowers serotonin in the brain which leads to aggression as serotonin inhabits responses to environmental stimuli. Lindman et al (1987) found aggressive behaviour in drunken males positively correlated with testosterone levels. Cortisol is the other hormonal mechanism which inhibits other hormones such as testosterone. High levels of this are positive sign for the human body as it in effectively causes a reduction in aggression. However low levels are associated with increased aggression, Vikuuen (1985) found low levels of cortisol in habitual violent offenders. As well as Hormonal mechanisms there are neural mechanisms that are associated with aggression. Low levels of serotonin are associated with increased susceptibility to impulse behaviour, aggression and violent suicide. ...read more.


The other monkeys in the experiment were fed on diets of low levels of tryptophan and exhibited increased levels of aggression. This supports the role of serotonin on aggression because it shows the lower levels of serotonin are correlated with higher levels of aggression. Further support comes from Screbo and Raine (1993), who did a meta-analysis of 29 studies. They examined neurotransmitter levels in antisocial children and adults. They found that lower levels of serotonin in individuals who were described as aggressive. This suggests that serotonin depletion leads to impulse behaviour, which can lead to aggressive behaviour, therefore supporting the link between serotonin levels and aggression. A critique of neural mechanisms as an explanation of aggression could be that it raises issues of extrapolation due to non-human animals used in experiments such as the findings on serotonin replicated in vervet monkeys. Can the findings really be generalised to humans? The nature and mentality of animals is much different to humans. Also this study faces ethical issues as the vervet monkeys faced irreversible mental changes that could have been avoided if the experiment was not conducted. ...read more.


Studies have proven that not just negative factors come from high levels of testosterone; Huston found that men with high levels of testosterone perform well on competitive tasks and low on co-operative tasks. However it is predicted that these sorts of males are also likely to take part in anti-social behaviour in order to be more dominating not aggressive. Gender bias in this biological approach is evident as most research is done on males, both humans and non-humans. This leaves the question of ?is there no relationship between levels of testosterone and aggression in women? unanswered. Clearly a very important and useful area of bio-psychological research is associated with many anti-social acts in society such as numerous forms of crime including violence. If the role of biochemistry can be understood it can perhaps be treated or managed. However, it is unethical to give drugs to humans to simply alleviate aggression as this debatably could lead to social control. In conclusion there is a possibility this could be treated more ethically through diet and exercise which acts on neural mechanisms. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Physiological Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Physiological Psychology essays

  1. Sleepiness - A critique of its measurement

    The multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) will be focused on in a little bit more depth than the other tools as the author believes the MSLT not only provides a good basis for understanding sleepiness and its measurement, but will also allow us to look at the interplay between the two aforementioned dimensions of measurement.

  2. Counselling - focus on the issue of alcoholism and the effect it has upon ...

    (Naido and Wiliis, 2000) However, excessive drinking may be successfully reduced with brief interventions. These interventions include offering advice about the hazards of alcohol, including safe limits. Personalising the health effects of drinking heavily is also seen as an intervention.

  1. Depression - Gender Differences.

    it is relatively easy to recognize the fact that without the necessary astrocytes in place, conducting the brain-healing processes that they have been discovered to posses, it triggers within the brain the inability to maintain a sense of perspective. "A kind of star-shaped brain cell that helps support surrounding nerve

  2. Stress in the Workplace : Why Is it Important to Deal with It?


  1. Neural and Hormonal Causes of Aggression

    Nevertheless, similar findings were collected from research on human aggression. Lindman found that young males who behaved aggressively when drunk had higher levels of testosterone than those who didn?t act aggressively. These findings show that testosterone has a direct link with aggression, although this research doesn?t provide us with a

  2. Neural and Hormonal Explanations of Aggression

    Therefore, research cannot be generalised to females and cannot explain why some females show aggressive behaviour. But, supporting research into females has been conducted by Floody. They found in the week of menstruation women?s androgens increase, correlating with increased hostility and likelihood of committing crimes which proves a hormonal explanation to female?s aggressive behaviour.

  1. Discuss the role of neural and hormonal mechanisms in aggression.

    Recent evidence with mice (Couppis et al 2008) suggests that the brain appears to see aggression as a reward. According to this view, whenever we perform an activity that we find rewarding the brain releases higher level of dopamine. When this dopamine attaches to receptors in the brain, it creates a pleasure circuit, which the individual finds reinforcing.

  2. Notes for A2 Psychology Unit 3 Eating Behaviour The Role of Neural Mechanisms

    A small dose (lesions in LN only) and a large dose (lesions spread to adjacent areas) condition was used, and there was also a control group. Results: Rats that had the small dose of NMDA showed no changes in their eating behaviour after a brief recovery period.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work