Study Notes

Aggression: The Role of the Neurotransmitter Serotonin

Level:
A-Level
Board:
AQA

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

Under normal circumstances, the neurotransmitter serotonin works on the frontal areas of the brain to inhibit the firing of the amygdala, the part of the limbic system in the brain that controls fear, anger and other emotional responses. Consequently, serotonin has a calming influence and low levels of serotonin mean that people can’t control their impulsive and aggressive behaviour. Serotonin also regulates the pre-frontal cortex; therefore, lower levels of serotonin affect our response to external stimuli, meaning the person becomes aggressive easily and can’t control their responses in a ‘normal’ way. They can’t anticipate risk and therefore impulsively engage in aggressive behaviour.

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