Neuroimaging of aggressive and violent behaviour in children and adolescents

  • In recent years, a number of functional and structural neuroimaging studies have investigated the neural bases of aggressive and violent behaviour in children and adolescents. Most functional neuroimaging studies have persued the hypothesis that pathological aggression is a consequence of deficits in the neural circuits involved in emotion processing. There is converging evidence for abnormal neural responses to emotional stimuli in youths with a propensity towards aggressive behaviour. In addition, recent neuroimaging work has suggested that aggressive behaviour is also associated with abnormalities in neural processes that subserve both the inhibitory control of behaviour and the flexible adaptation of behaviour in accord with reinforcement information. Structural neuroimaging studies in children and adolescents with conduct problems are still scarce, but point to deficits in brain structures involved in the processing of social information and in the regulation of social and goal-directed behaviour. The indisputable progress that this research field has made in recent years notwithstanding, the overall picture is still rather patchy and there are inconsistencies between studies that await clarification. Despite this, we attempt to provide an integrated view on the neural abnormalities that may contribute to various forms of juvenile aggression and violence, and discuss research strategies that may help to provide a more profound understanding of these important issues in the future. Keywords: aggression, violence, conduct disorder, fMRI, brain imaging, psychiatry

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Author:Philipp Sterzer, Christina StadlerORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Frontiers in behavioral neuroscience
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2009
Year of first Publication:2009
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2010/10/26
Tag:aggression; brain imaging; conduct disorder; fMRI; psychiatry; violence
Issue:Article 35
Page Number:8
Copyright: © 2009 Sterzer and Stadler. This is an open-access article subject to an exclusive license agreement between the authors and the Frontiers Research Foundation, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original authors and source are credited.
Institutes:Medizin / Medizin
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht