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Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2015 Oct;10(10):1303-9. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsv018. Epub 2015 Feb 12.

Reducing proactive aggression through non-invasive brain stimulation.

Author information

1
Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands, Maastricht Brain Imaging Center, Maastricht, The Netherlands, franziska.dambacher@maastrichtuniversity.nl.
2
Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands, Maastricht Brain Imaging Center, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
3
Department of Clinical Psychological Science, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands, and.
4
Department of Clinical Psychological Science, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands, and Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Aggressive behavior poses a threat to human collaboration and social safety. It is of utmost importance to identify the functional mechanisms underlying aggression and to develop potential interventions capable of reducing dysfunctional aggressive behavior already at a brain level. We here experimentally shifted fronto-cortical asymmetry to manipulate the underlying motivational emotional states in both male and female participants while assessing the behavioral effects on proactive and reactive aggression. Thirty-two healthy volunteers received either anodal transcranial direct current stimulation to increase neural activity within right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, or sham stimulation. Aggressive behavior was measured with the Taylor Aggression Paradigm. We revealed a general gender effect, showing that men displayed more behavioral aggression than women. After the induction of right fronto-hemispheric dominance, proactive aggression was reduced in men. This study demonstrates that non-invasive brain stimulation can reduce aggression in men. This is a relevant and promising step to better understand how cortical brain states connect to impulsive actions and to examine the causal role of the prefrontal cortex in aggression. Ultimately, such findings could help to examine whether the brain can be a direct target for potential supportive interventions in clinical settings dealing with overly aggressive patients and/or violent offenders.

KEYWORDS:

Taylor aggression paradigm; aggression; dorsolateral prefrontal cortex; impulsivity; inter-hemispheric asymmetry; tDCS

PMID:
25680991
PMCID:
PMC4590530
DOI:
10.1093/scan/nsv018
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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