Neural and Hormonal Explanations of Aggression

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Neural and hormonal

The biological approach suggests that there are Neural and Hormonal causes to aggressive behaviour. This may be caused by different sectors of the brain or hormone levels like testosterone. However, the biological approach has its limitations.

Testosterone is seen to have a large impact on aggression. Young et al injected pregnant monkeys with testosterone and found that if the offspring were female, they would then act like a male monkeys by play fighting as they grew up. They then concluded that testosterone is a main factor in the cause of aggression which supports the approach by saying there is a hormonal cause.

Research by Wagner et al supports findings by Young et al. They found if a male mouse was castrated, its levels of aggression dropped. But when the mouse was injected with testosterone, its aggression levels rise again proving testosterone can be a cause for aggression.    

Another strength is these studies have been directly manipulated by the investigator which shows a direct effect. This is good because we can then conclude that levels of testosterone can effect aggression.  

However, these studies are conducted on animals and is reductionistic. This is because research is over simplified as they are comparing animals to humans; but humans are more complex and cannot be generalised with animal studies.

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Nevertheless, there has been supporting research conducted into humans which shows the effect of hormones on aggression. Kreuz and Rose conducted research into males and found that there were higher levels of testosterone in criminals with violent behaviour than those without a record of violence. This suggestion of testosterone on aggressive behaviour is being reinforced with humans which proves that increased levels of hormones can increase aggression, supporting the biological approach.

However, many studies into hormones can be criticised for being androcentric as the majority of the research into hormones focusses on testosterone in which only males have. Therefore, ...

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