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Biology of Aggression$
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Randy J. Nelson

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195168761

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195168761.001.0001

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The Psychophysiology of Human Antisocial Behavior

The Psychophysiology of Human Antisocial Behavior

Chapter:
(p.447) 18 The Psychophysiology of Human Antisocial Behavior
Source:
Biology of Aggression
Author(s):

Angela Scarpa

Adrian Raine

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195168761.003.0018

This chapter reviews the major psychophysiological findings and theories regarding antisocial behavior, with a specific focus on skin conductance (SC), heart rate (HR), electroencephalogram (EEG), and startle blink research. Psychophysiological findings in relation to antisocial behavior support the notion that chronic serious antisocial behavior is a disorder that partly arises from a biological dysfunction within the individual. The strongest evidence suggests that antisocial individuals are characterized by fearlessness or emotional detachment, reflected in reduced levels of tonic autonomic (i.e., HR and SC) arousal, increased heart rate variability (HRV), greater slow-wave EEG activity, and reduced startle blink potentiation to unpleasant stimuli. There is also growing evidence of other antisocial behavior characterized more by defensiveness, stress reactivity, and negative emotionality as reflected in decreased HRV, increased SC reactivity, normal or increased affective startle modulation, and left frontotemporal dysfunction.

Keywords:   aggression, aggressive behavior, skin conductance, heart rate, electroencephalogram, startle blink research, stress reactivity, heart rate variability

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