Navigation Links
Aggression as rewarding as sex, food and drugs

NASHVILLE, Tenn.New research from Vanderbilt University shows for the first time that the brain processes aggression as a reward - much like sex, food and drugs - offering insights into our propensity to fight and our fascination with violent sports like boxing and football.

The research will be published online the week of Jan. 14 by the journal Psychopharmacology.

Aggression occurs among virtually all vertebrates and is necessary to get and keep important resources such as mates, territory and food, Craig Kennedy, professor of special education and pediatrics, said. We have found that the reward pathway in the brain becomes engaged in response to an aggressive event and that dopamine is involved.

It is well known that dopamine is produced in response to rewarding stimuli such as food, sex and drugs of abuse, Maria Couppis, who conducted the study as her doctoral thesis at Vanderbilt, said. What we have now found is that it also serves as positive reinforcement for aggression.

For the experiments, a pair of mice - one male, one female - was kept in one cage and five intruder mice were kept in a separate cage. The female mouse was temporarily removed, and an intruder mouse was introduced in its place, triggering an aggressive response by the home male mouse. Aggressive behavior included tail rattle, an aggressive sideways stance, boxing and biting.

The home mouse was then trained to poke a target with its nose to get the intruder to return, at which point it again behaved aggressively toward it. The home mouse consistently poked the trigger, which was presented once a day, indicating it experienced the aggressive encounter with the intruder as a reward.

The same home mice were then treated with a drug that suppressed their dopamine receptors. After this treatment, they decreased the frequency with which they instigated the intruders entry.

In a separate experiment, the mice were treated with the dopamine receptor suppressors again and their movements in an open cage were observed. They showed no significant changes in overall movement compared to times when they had not received the drugs. This was done to demonstrate that their decreased aggression in the previous experiment was not caused by overall lethargy in response to the drug, a problem that had confounded previous experiments.

The Vanderbilt experiments are the first to demonstrate a link between behavior and the activity of dopamine receptors in response to an aggressive event.

We learned from these experiments that an individual will intentionally seek out an aggressive encounter solely because they experience a rewarding sensation from it, Kennedy said. This shows for the first time that aggression, on its own, is motivating, and that the well-known positive reinforcer dopamine plays a critical role.


Contact: Melanie Moran
Vanderbilt University

Related medicine news :

1. Aggression in adolescents is influenced by siblings
2. Older Brothers Might Spur Kids Aggression
3. Watching Violent TV at Pre-School Age Linked to Aggression in Young Boys
4. TV Violence May Spur Aggression in Boys
5. Pheromones identified that trigger aggression between male mice
6. Scripps research scientists discover chemical triggers for aggression in mice
7. Massachusetts Employers and Health Plans Continue to Support Quality Care by Rewarding Physicians through Bridges to Excellence Programs
8. New review suggests caution on drugs to raise good cholesterol
9. Can cancer drugs combine forces?
10. Study provides hope that some transplant patients could live free of antirejection drugs
11. Study provides hope that some transplant patients could live free of anti-rejection drugs
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... First Choice Emergency Room , the largest network of independent freestanding ... of its new Mesquite-Samuell Farm facility. , “We are pleased to announce Dr. ... James M. Muzzarelli, Executive Medical Director of First Choice Emergency Room. , Dr. ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of the ... to iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , The ... Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was one ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Marne, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... To deal with these feelings, many turn to unhealthy avenues, such as drug or ... Center of Marne, Michigan, has released tools for healthy coping following a traumatic event. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Texas (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... International Conference and Scientific Sessions in Dallas that it will receive two significant ... of the grants came as PHA marked its 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, CA ... the Road To Recovery® program to drive cancer patients to and from their cancer ... ensure the highest quality of life and ongoing independence. Getting to and from ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... DUBLIN , June 24, 2016 ... addition of the "Structural Electronics 2015-2025: Applications, ... In-Mold Electronics, Smart ... Integrated Photovoltaics Structural electronics involves ... as load-bearing, protective structures, replacing dumb structures such ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. , June 24, 2016  American ... function testing company, is now able to perform sophisticated lung assessments ... ndd Medical Technologies , Inc. Patients are no ...  Thanks to ndd,s EasyOne PRO ® , ARL patients like Jeanne ... needed testing done in the comfort of her own home. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)...   Pulmatrix, Inc ., (NASDAQ: PULM ... announced today that it was added to the Russell ... comprehensive set of U.S. and global equity indexes on ... milestone for Pulmatrix," said Chief Executive Officer Robert ... progress in developing drugs for crucial unmet medical needs, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: