Genetics of Aggressive Behavior

In many respects, aggression serves as the raw material that drives conduct problems across the life course. Whether assessing difficult temperament in infancy and toddlerhood, self-regulation deficits in childhood, delinquency in adolescence, or criminal violence in adulthood, aggression—defined as a behavior directed toward another person with the intention of doing harm (Anderson & Bushman, 2002)—is the fundamental, elemental construct that is involved. Aggression is an umbrella term that captures diverse forms of harm-causing conduct, such as proactive aggression (instrumental planning to harm), reactive aggression (impulsive, affective reaction to real or perceived threat), direct aggression (overt physical infliction of harm), and indirect aggression (relational aggression involving gossip and social exclusion). This entry focuses on genetics as a factor in aggressive behavior, including heritability and genetic ...

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