Hormonal explanation of aggression (Aggression in humans (Dabbs et al …
Hormonal explanation of aggression
A chemical produced by the body that sends messages to organs of the body via the bloodstream.
Supported by the finding that violent criminals have higher testosterone than non-violent criminals
Chromsomal abnormality; higher than normal proportion of violent men have an extra Y chromosome (sex chromosome)
Clear cause-and-effect relationship between testosterone and aggression in animals
Human studies show this relationship in correlation studies
Not all humans with high testosterone levels are aggressive (sporting ability or driven)
Correlation/animal studies have weaknesses
May not apply to humans
Correlation studies look for relationships not cause-and-effect
Reductionism, ignores free will and moral responsibility
Needs to distinguish against aggression and dominance (e.g alpha male fighting with other males in pack is evolution)
Aggression in humans
Castrated male mice and found aggressiveness was reduced, then injected the mice with testosterone which re-established their aggressiveness.
Psychologists can take blood from humans to see what levels of testosterone they have, compare this to how aggressive they feel/act.
Correlation studies found relationship between high testosterone and questionnaire results showing greater reported aggression.
Dabbs et al
Measured testosterone in saliva of 692 adult male prisoners
Higher levels in rapists/violent offenders than burglars and thieves
12 fraternities in 2 universities
Members with highest level of testosterone were described as macho, those with lowest were attentive and helpful
Testosterone highest in cases of unprovoked violence but lowest where violence was defensive (domestic abuse)
A male sex hormone produced in the testes, secreted by the adrenal gland which is needed to produce sperm.
Involved in development of the male reproductive organs and produces male features, also involved with aggression.