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Murder in the CourtroomThe Cognitive Neuroscience of Violence$
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Brigitte Vallabhajosula

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199995721

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199995721.001.0001

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The Etiology and Neurobiology of Violence

The Etiology and Neurobiology of Violence

(p.96) 5 The Etiology and Neurobiology of Violence
Murder in the Courtroom

Brigitte Vallabhajosula

Oxford University Press

Violent behavior is a significant social problem; however, the exact neuroanatomical region responsible for this behavior still remains somewhat elusive. Converging evidence from numerous studies of structure and function, as well as from studies employing neuropsychological and neurological tests and measures, have suggested that abnormal prefrontal circuitry, in particular, is likely to be involved in violent behavior. More specifically, aggressiveness, like all other emotions, is regulated by complex neural circuits that involve several cortical and subcortical areas. The frontal lobes, prefrontal cortex, temporal lobes, amygdala, and limbic system, in particular, have been linked to violent behavior. It has also been hypothesized that the subcortical structures that regulate emotions, such as the amygdala, are under the direct control of the prefrontal cortex. This chapter discusses the etiology of violence in general and the underlying relationships among various factors, such as neural circuits, neuromodulators, neurobiology, and neuropsychiatric diseases specifically.

Keywords:   violent behavior, aggressiveness, neural circuits, frontal lobes, prefrontal cortex, temporal lobes, amygdala, limbic system, neuromodulators, neuropsychiatric diseases

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