Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Thesis defense Amanda Jager (Donders series 400)

18 November 2019

Promotors: prof. dr. L. Kozicz, prof. dr. J. Buitelaar 
Co-promotors: dr. J. Glennon, dr. G. Poelmans

Neural Mechanisms underlying Cognitive Control of Aggression

Aggression and violence have always been a burden to public health. More than a million people each year lose their lives because of violence, making it one of the leading causes of death worldwide for middle aged people. Aggressive behaviour is a common symptom in several neuropsychiatric disorders such as psychopathy or ADHD. In this thesis, by using an animal model,  I have investigated how someone could lose cognitive control and starts to behave aggressively. Reduced inhibition in brain regions, involved in the regulation of emotional responses, seems to play a role in the occurrence of aggression. Besides that factors such as insensitivity to negative feedback and difficulties with unlearning behaviour seems to be involved. A low dose of methylphenidate reduced aggression and anxiety, while a high dose increased aggression. Aggression observed in neuropsychiatric disorder may be a consequence of heightened anxiety in combination with a deficit in attention processing.