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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2017 Oct;234(19):2971-2978. doi: 10.1007/s00213-017-4693-7. Epub 2017 Jul 21.

Melatonin increases reactive aggression in humans.

Author information

1
Shenzhen Key Laboratory of Affective and Social Cognitive Science, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen, 518060, China.
2
Research Centre of Brain Function and Psychological Science, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen, 518060, China.
3
School of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, China.
4
Neuropsychopharmacology and Biopsychology Unit, Department of Basic Psychological Research and Research Methods, Faculty of Psychology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
5
School of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, China. xz104@pku.edu.cn.
6
Beijing Key Laboratory of Behavior and Mental Health, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, China. xz104@pku.edu.cn.
7
PKU-IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, China. xz104@pku.edu.cn.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Melatonin, a hormone released preferentially by the pineal gland during the night, affects circadian rhythms and aging processes. As animal studies have shown that melatonin increases resident-intruder aggression, this study aimed to investigate the impact of melatonin treatment on human aggression.

METHODS:

In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled between-participant design, 63 healthy male volunteers completed the Taylor Aggression Paradigm (TAP) after oral administration of melatonin or placebo.

RESULTS:

We found that when given the opportunity to administer high or low punishments to an opponent, participants who ingested melatonin selected the high punishment more often than those who ingested placebo. The increased reactive aggression under melatonin administration remained after controlling for inhibitory ability, trait aggression, trait impulsiveness, circadian preference, perceptual sensibility to noise, and changes in subjective sleepiness and emotional states.

CONCLUSION:

This study provides novel and direct evidence for the involvement of melatonin in human social processes.

KEYWORDS:

Antisocial behavior; Circadian rhythm; Melatonin; Reactive aggression; Taylor aggression paradigm

PMID:
28733812
DOI:
10.1007/s00213-017-4693-7
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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