Role of Gentics in Aggression

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By myxr
Words 1608
Pages 7
Introduction
Introduction
Outline and evaluate the role of genetic factors in aggressive behaviour (5+16 marks)
Moghaddom (1998) distinguishes between explanations of aggression which are normative, and those which are causal. Causal explanations, as in this case, suggest aggression is determined by particular factors e.g. genes and are usually biological explanations. The genetic explanation of aggression suggests that it is influenced through our genes, and that such behaviour is therefore inherited.
Para 1 A01
Para 1 A01
It is thought that aggression is due to a defective gene that is inherited by following generations. One possible gene is the Monoamine Oxidase A gene, which produces Monoamine Oxidase A enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters associated with aggression. It is thought that a build-up of serotonin and dopamine can cause an individual to act aggressively to stress in the fight or flight response. There are two forms of the gene, MAOA-H (produces a high level of the enzyme) and MAOA-L (produces a low amount of the enzyme). The presence of the MAOA-L gene is related to an increase likelihood of aggression. One third of people in Western countries have the MAOA-L gene, compared to two thirds in countries with a history of warfare; leading the gene to be dubbed with the term “warrior gene”.
Para 2 A02
Para 2 A02
Research to support the role of the MAOA gene comes from Cases et al who disabled the gene in the X chromosome of mice. As no enzyme was produced, the levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain increased. It was observed that males became highly aggressive (females were unaffected) and by restoring the function of the gene, their behaviour retuned back to normal. This suggests that the gene does in fact increase aggression when not working, supporting the role of genetic factors in aggressive behaviour. However, the research…...

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