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[Neurobiological aspects of reactive and proactive violence in antisocial personality disorder and "psychopathy"].

[Article in German]

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Universität Bremen, Insititut für Hirnforschung, Bremen.


Impulsive-reactive violent offenders show increased autonomic activity in response to negative emotional and threatening stimuli. A volume reduction and/or activity decrease of frontal brain structures associated with impulse control and the regulation of fear and anger are likewise found in combination with a fear-related hyperactivity of the amygdala. In addition, impulsive aggression is facilitated by variants of gene polymorphisms influencing the serotonergic system. Conversely, proactive-instrumental violent offender with psychopathy, who are characterized by a lack of empathy and remorse, demonstrate an autonomic hypo-responsivity as well as dysfunctions of the amygdala and of cortical regions related to empathic and social behavior. Developmentally, aggressive children exhibit temperamental differences from early childhood on that are characteristic of a developmental pathway towards either reactive or proactive violence later in life. Exposure to negative environmental factors like ineffective parenting or childhood maltreatment has been related to a heightened risk for developing reactive violence. A developmental trajectory of proactive violence, however, has been related to a mostly genetically determined callous unemotional temperament of the child that disrupts the parental socialization efforts during childhood.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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