Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A blueprint for 'affective' aggression

Date:
September 4, 2012
Source:
North Carolina State University
Summary:
Researchers have created a roadmap to areas of the brain associated with affective aggression in mice. This roadmap may be the first step toward finding therapies for humans suffering from affective aggression disorders that lead to impulsive violent acts.

A North Carolina State University researcher has created a roadmap to areas of the brain associated with affective aggression in mice. This roadmap may be the first step toward finding therapies for humans suffering from affective aggression disorders that lead to impulsive violent acts.

Affective aggression differs from defensive aggression or premeditated aggression used by predators, in that the role of affective aggression isn't clear and could be considered maladaptive. NC State neurobiologist Dr. Troy Ghashghaei was interested in finding the areas of the brain engaged with this type of aggressive behavior. Using mice that had been specially bred for affective aggression by his research associate Dr. Derrick L Nehrenberg, Ghashghaei and former undergraduate student Atif Sheikh were able to locate the regions in the mouse brain that switched on and those that were off when the mice displayed affective aggression.

"The brain works by using clusters of neurons that cross communicate at extremely rapid rates, much like a computer," Ghashghaei explains. "One region will process a stimulus, and then that region sends messages to other clusters within the brain, like circuits within a computer. We looked at how the switches flipped in the brains of aggressive mice, and compared that with the brains of completely nonaggressive mice in the same setting, to see how the two processed the situation differently."

They found that affectively aggressive mice demonstrated a large difference in the way their "executive centers" operated when the mice encountered another mouse. "Sensory inputs come in and are sent to the executive center, the part of the brain that decides how to respond to the input," Ghashghaei says. "In the meantime, the information about the response you made gets processed back with either a pleasant or unpleasant association."

According to Ghashghaei, the affectively aggressive mice could react violently because their brains are hardwiredto respond to certain situations aggressively without assessing whether their response to the situation is appropriate or without regard to the behavior's consequences. In addition, affectively aggressive mice may be forming pleasant associations with their violent displays, which would reinforce their aggressive tendencies.

"We cannot say which of the two possibilities underlie the persistent aggressive displays by our mice," Ghashghaei says, "but we can see that the patterns of neuronal activity are very different in the executive centers of these mice. Additionally, there are differences in the neuronal clusters involved with creating pleasant or unpleasant associations to the stimulus or their response. That gives us a few starting spots to begin identifying the mechanisms that underlie these profound behavioral differences."

The regions of the brain that were involved in affective aggression in the mice are similar across all mammalian species. Ghashghaei hopes that his findings in mice will be useful to researchers studying violent behavior in humans, as well as aggression in other animals.

"With the brain, just knowing where to start looking is huge," Ghashghaei says. "Once you have a few targets, you can tease out the possibilities and get to the heart of the problem. We are confident that manipulation of some of the identified targets in our study will disrupt displays of affective aggression in our mouse model."

The researchers' findings appear online in Brain Structure and Function.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by North Carolina State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Derrick L. Nehrenberg, Atif Sheikh, H. Troy Ghashghaei. Identification of neuronal loci involved with displays of affective aggression in NC900 mice. Brain Structure and Function, 2012; DOI: 10.1007/s00429-012-0445-y

Cite This Page:

North Carolina State University. "A blueprint for 'affective' aggression." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120904150115.htm>.
North Carolina State University. (2012, September 4). A blueprint for 'affective' aggression. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120904150115.htm
North Carolina State University. "A blueprint for 'affective' aggression." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120904150115.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) In a ruling attorneys for both sides agreed was a first of its kind, a Georgia appeals court said parents can be held liable for what kids put online. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) Researchers claim they’ve diagnosed the first example of the disorder in a 31-year-old U.S. Navy serviceman. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins