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Physiol Behav. 2015 May 1;143:121-35. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2015.02.053. Epub 2015 Mar 3.

Behavioural, hormonal and neurobiological mechanisms of aggressive behaviour in human and nonhuman primates.

Author information

1
Institute of Psychology, Laboratory of Experimental Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), 2600 Ramiro Barcelos St, Porto Alegre 90035-003, Brazil. Electronic address: rosa_almeida@yahoo.com.
2
Institute of Psychology, Laboratory of Experimental Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), 2600 Ramiro Barcelos St, Porto Alegre 90035-003, Brazil. Electronic address: centurioncabral@gmail.com.
3
Institute of Psychology, Laboratory of Experimental Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), 2600 Ramiro Barcelos St, Porto Alegre 90035-003, Brazil. Electronic address: rodrigo.narvaes@gmail.com.

Abstract

Aggression is a key component for social behaviour and can have an adaptive value or deleterious consequences. Here, we review the role of sex-related differences in aggressive behaviour in both human and nonhuman primates. First, we address aggression in primates, which varies deeply between species, both in intensity and in display, ranging from animals that are very aggressive, such as chimpanzees, to the nonaggressive bonobos. Aggression also influences the hierarchical structure of gorillas and chimpanzees, and is used as the main tool for dealing with other groups. With regard to human aggression, it can be considered a relevant adaptation for survival or can have negative impacts on social interaction for both sexes. Gender plays a critical role in aggressive and competitive behaviours, which are determined by a cascade of physiological changes, including GABAergic and serotonergic systems, and sex neurosteroids. The understanding of the neurobiological bases and behavioural determinants of different types of aggression is fundamental for minimising these negative impacts.

KEYWORDS:

Aggression; Agonistic behaviour; Cortisol; GABA neurotransmitter; Serotonin neurotransmitter; Sex steroids

PMID:
25749197
DOI:
10.1016/j.physbeh.2015.02.053
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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