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Study discovers unique brain signature of intimate partner aggression

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Why do people hurt those who claim they love? The question prompted researchers to discover much about the consequences of psychological and sociological predictors and the aggression of intimate partners. However, the understanding of neurobiological causes or what is happening in the brain remains incomplete.

A new study led by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University uses functional magnetic resonance imaging. brain The activity of a romantic couple of 51 men-women when they experienced the aggression of an intimate partner in real time.

They found that aggression to intimate partners was associated with abnormal activity in the multi-functional medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC), some of which with others. Has the ability to foster intimacy and awareness of value.

“we, Intimate partner “The brain has unique characteristics,” said Dr. David Chester, an associate professor at the Faculty of Humanities and Psychology. “When people decide whether to make decisions, something is clear at the neural level. Something is happening. A different process in a meaningful way than deciding whether to hurt a friend or stranger to hurt their romantic partner. “

The study was led by Chester’s Institute of Social Psychology and Neuroscience, which seeks to understand the psychological and biological processes that motivate and constrain aggressive behavior.The study “Aggressive Neural Mechanisms of Intimate Partners” will be published in the journal Biological psychology..

Researchers have asked participants to play computer games one at a time, one at a time, against a romantic partner, a close friend, and a stranger, and the brains of an attacking couple with an intimate partner. I was able to observe the activity of. In reality, they were playing against computers.

Participants were tasked with pushing buttons faster than their opponents. The loser was said to be punished for the unpleasant sound of headphones. Researchers measured aggression by giving participants and their fictitious opponents the opportunity to choose the volume of their sound blast. The louder the volume, the higher the aggression, and the lower the volume, the lower the aggression.

“Basically, we give participants repeated opportunities to hurt or not hurt each of these three, and how brain activity changes based on who they think they hurt. I looked it up, “Chester said. “But … no one was actually injured in this computer game. Participants unknowingly played against the computer.”

Researchers’ findings have spread beyond the lab to the real world. They asked participants to fill out a validated questionnaire asking if they had committed violence with an intimate partner prior to the study.

They found that slowed medial prefrontal activity predicted some of the real-world behavior of participants’ intimate violence.

“We have an intimate partner’s aggression, Brain activity“What surprised us was that this feature of the brain could predict real-world intimate violence,” Chester said.

They also investigated how male and female neural activity affected each other’s aggression. They found that the aggression of a female intimate partner was predicted by the male partner’s brain response to the perceived provocation.

“This result is consistent with the established finding that the aggression of a woman’s intimate partner can very often be in self-defense,” Chester said.

In summary, the results of this study could be a useful target for interventions aimed at reducing the aggression of intimate partners and helping science build accurate brain models of such harmful behaviors. He said it provides new insights into the more sexual areas of the brain.

Chester added that the researchers worked on the study with great care. The couple were pre-screened to ensure that they were not at high risk of intimate violence. Researchers carefully reported to each participant individually to make the reunion with their partners more comfortable. And they again carefully reported to both partners as a couple to ensure that there were no protracted adverse effects of the study.

“To protect the well-being of our participants, we have a robust protocol in case something goes wrong,” Chester said. “It is of utmost importance that research on the aggression of intimate partners prioritizes the safety and well-being of participants, and we believe we have achieved this goal.”

Although this study focuses on intimate male and female partners AggressionChester said that future work is needed to explore these dynamics across the greater diversity of gender identity and sexual orientation.


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For more information:
David S. Chester et al., Aggressive neural mechanisms of intimate partners, Biological psychology (2021). DOI: 10.1016 / j.biopsycho.2021.108195

Quote: According to the investigation, an intimate partner attack obtained on October 14, 2021 from https: //medicalxpress.com/news/2021-10-unique-brain-signature-intimate-partner.html (October 2021) 14th) Unique brain features were discovered

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