|Vol. 2, No. 3 , 1996, Page 5|
BOOK REVIEW: THE PSYCHOBIOLOGY OF AGGRESSION
Edited by Hillbrand and Pallone.
Hayworth Press, 1995. $49.95 +
For information call 1-800-342-9678.
If you think spanking an aggressive child-or jailing a seriously aggressive adult-is the treatment of choice, read this book. You may never feel the same. At the very least, your options will be increased.
The book's first section examines how aggression is linked to gender, and to biological factors such as testosterone, serotonin, alcohol, traumatic brain injury, hematology and cerebral lateralization. The second reviews the measurement of brain dysfunction using neuroimaging techniques, and various approaches to measurement of aggression in children and adults using microbehavioral and psychometric methods. The third section reviews pharmacological approaches to the treatment of aggression using benzodiazepines, neuroleptics, beta blockers, lithium, and anticonvulsants, and examines the link between diet and aggression.
Each of the 15 chapters in this 243-page book is prefaced with an abstract, and ends with a comprehensive listing of references. Thirty-four researchers, many of them nationally and internationally known, have contributed their knowledge in writing what surely must be the most exhaustive and current view of the etiology, prevention and treatment of psychobiogenic aggression.
"The significant finding of frontal-like impairment in. delinquents led Youdall. to speculate that
delinquents and other antisocial individuals may have particular problems in planning their actions,
perceiving the consequences of those actions, and altering those actions in the face of changing
circumstances.. Characterologically impulsive, antisocial individuals probably do not have
injured frontal lobes in the same pathophysiological sense as a stroke or gunshot victim. Rather,
they most likely possess a particular constitutional neuropsychodynamic organization underlying
the impulsive cognitive style, one main component of which is an underdevelopment of, or
deficiency in, frontal lobe control over behavior."
Laurence Miller, in the chapter,
Traumatic Brain Injury and Aggression
"Although the results of studies comparing verbal and performance scores of aggressive
individuals are far from unambiguous, a majority of studies has reported relative deficits on the
verbal subscales in aggressive individuals, suggestive of left hemisphere dysfunction."
Marc Hillbrand, Diane Langian, Christine W. Nelson, Janelle E. Clark and Simone M. Dion,
in the chapter, Cerebral Lateralization and Aggression
"It is evident that many of the interacting variables may change from day to day or even moment to
moment, so that the equilibrium is generally unstable. This is why an apparently trivial event to an
outside observer may sometimes appear to trigger a suicide attempt or a violent outburst. This is
also why it is impossible to describe the relative importance of each variable as if its effects were
forever fixed, and why precise prediction will always be impossible.. Clinical interventions
should attempt to decrease the amplifiers of aggression and increase the strength and number of
Robert Plutchik and Herman M. van Praag, in the chapter,
Suicide Risk: Amplifiers and Attenuators
"Due to the known link between serotonin metabolism, hormone response (e.g., cortisol and
insulin), and carbohydrate intake. and the relationship of low serotonin activity in aggressiveness,
the dietary intake of carbohydrate, particularly alcohol or sugars, may be implicated in habitual
violent or impulsive behavior."
Diana H. Fishbein and Susan E. Pease, in the chapter,
Diet, Nutrition, and Aggression