Neurobiology of aggressive behavior
Delgado JM.
Boll Soc Ital Biol Sper. 1976 Oct 30;52(18 Suppl):1-19.


Causality, neurological mechanisms, and behavioral manifestations may be heterogeneous in different forms of aggressive behavior, but some elements are shared by all forms of violence, including the necessity of sensory inputs, the coding and decoding of information according to acquired frames of reference, and the activation of pre-established patterns of response. Understanding and prevention of violence requires a simultaneous study of its social, cultural, and economic aspects, at parity with an investigation of its neurological mechanisms. Part of the latter information may be obtained through animal experimentation, preferably in non-human primates. Feline predatory behavior has no equivalent in man, and therefore its hypothalamic representation probably does not exist in the human brain. Codes of information, frames of reference for sensory perception, axis to evaluate threats, and formulas for aggressive performance are not established genetically but must be learned individually. We are born with the capacity to learn aggressive behavior, but not with established patterns of violence. Mechanisms for fighting which are acquired by individual experience may be triggered in a similar way by sensory cues, volition, and by electrical stimulation of specific cerebral areas. In monkeys, aggressive responses may be modified by changing the hierarchical position of the stimulated animal, indicating the physiological quality of the neurological mechanisms electrically activated.
José Delgado
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