Although aggression is biologically influenced the

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Although aggression is biologically influenced the human propensity to aggress does not qualify as instinctive behavior o Natural influences Neural systems in both animals and humans facilitate aggression When activate these brain areas hostility increases When they deactivate them hostility decreases Used brain scans to measure brain activity in murderers (Raine & others, 1998) Measure the amount of gray matter in men with antisocial conduct disorder Found that the prefrontal cortex Acts like an emergence brake on deeper brain areas involved in aggressive behavior
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14% less active than normal in murderers 15% smaller in the antisocial men Abnormal brains contribute to abnormally aggressive behavior o Genetic influences Heredity influences the neural system’s sensitivity to aggressive cues Our temperaments are partly brought with us into the world How intense are reactive we are Influenced by our sympathetic nervous system’s reactivity (Kagan, 1989; Wilkowski & Robinson, 2008) A person’s temperament observed in infancy usually endures (Larsen & Diener, 1987; Wilson & Matheny, 1986) Identical twins when asked separately Are more likely than fraternal twins to agree on whether they have a violent temper (Rowe & others, 1999; Rushton & others, 1986) Long-term studies following several hundred New Zealand children Revel that a recipe for aggressive behavior combines a gene That alters neurotransmitter balance with childhood maltreatment (Caspi & others, 2002; Moffitt & others, 2003) Found evidence for the person x situation interaction in determining aggression Focused on the influence of the monoamine oxidase (MAOA) gene Which produces an enzyme influencing the production of serotonin A neurotransmitter that influences mood, appetite, and sleep and that reduces aggression Antisocial behavior and aggression were greater for children who had been severely maltreated This effect was even stronger for children with a gene variation that reduced the production of serotonin Neither bad genes nor a bad environment alone predisposes later aggressiveness and antisocial behavior Rather, genes predispose some children to be more sensitive and responsive to maltreatment Nature and nurture interact
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o Biochemical influences Blood chemistry also influences neural sensitivity to aggressive stimulation Alcohol Disrupts executive functions When people are intoxicated alcohol myopia They become more self-focused Les aware of the social situation Unleashes aggression when people are provoked Enhances aggressiveness by Reducing people’s self-awareness Focusing their attention on a provocation People’s mentally associating alcohol with aggression Deindividuates disinhibits Increase aggressive thoughts and hostile attributions about others (Bartholow & Heinz, 2006) Testosterone Hormonal influences appear to be much stronger in
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  • Fall '16
  • Relational aggression, Bushman,  Berkowitz

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