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1. The MAOA Gene
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the MAOA gene, also known as the ‘warrior gene’. We explore its biological function regulating the production of monoamine oxidase A in the human body and how this may be linked to aggressive behaviour. Next, we consider a study by Brunner et al. (1993) which suggests that there is a relationship between the low-activity version of the MAOA gene and high levels of aggression in males. Finally, we contrast this suggestion with the research of Caspi et al. (2002) which shows that it is not the MAOA gene alone but rather the interaction between an individual’s genetic makeup and their environment (e.g. childhood trauma) which has a significant impact on aggression.
In this course, Dr Claire Lawrence (University of Nottingham) discusses the psychology of aggression and aggressive behaviour. We begin, in module one, by thinking about the genetic basis for aggression, associated with the so-called ‘warrior gene’ MAOA. Next, we think about the neural and hormonal mechanisms involved in aggressive behaviour, focussing on the role of serotonin in module two and testosterone in module three. The fourth module considers how Social Learning Theory can help us to understand aggression as a learned behaviour, while module five focusses on the Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis as a social psychological model which argues that frustration, the feeling of having our goals thwarted, is a key factor in causing aggressive behaviour.
Claire Lawrence is an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Nottingham.
She works predominantly in the area of individual differences and her research centres around the question: Why do some people act aggressively in some situations, and other people don't? She also examines whether some antisocial traits have benefits in a sexual selection context.
Her second main area of research is the unintended and negative impacts of behavioural interventions.
Cite this Lecture
Lawrence, C. (2019, September 27). Aggression - The MAOA Gene [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/aggression/the-maoa-gene
Lawrence, Claire. "Aggression – The MAOA Gene." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 27 Sep 2019, https://www.massolit.io/courses/aggression/the-maoa-gene