Aggressive behavior poses a threat to human collaboration and social safety. It is of utmost importance to identify the functional mechanisms underlying aggression and to develop potential interventions capable of reducing dysfunctional aggressive behavior already at a brain level. We here experimentally shifted fronto-cortical asymmetry to manipulate the underlying motivational emotional states in both male and female participants while assessing the behavioral effects on proactive and reactive aggression. Thirty-two healthy volunteers received either anodal transcranial direct current stimulation to increase neural activity within right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, or sham stimulation. Aggressive behavior was measured with the Taylor Aggression Paradigm (TAP). We revealed a general gender effect, showing that males displayed more behavioral aggression than females. After the induction of right fronto-hemispheric dominance, proactive aggression was reduced in males. The current study demonstrates that non-invasive brain stimulation can reduce aggression in males. This is a relevant and promising step to better understand how cortical brain states connect to impulsive actions and to examine the causal role of the prefrontal cortex in aggression. Ultimately such findings could help to examine whether the brain can be a direct target for potential supportive interventions in clinical settings dealing with overly aggressive patients and/or violent offenders.
View graph of relations
- tDCS, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, aggression, impulsivity, Taylor aggression paradigm, inter-hemispheric asymmetry, INFORMATION-PROCESSING MECHANISMS, FRONTAL CORTICAL ACTIVITY, PREFRONTAL CORTEX, REACTIVE AGGRESSION, COGNITIVE CONTROL, AFFECTIVE VALENCE, SEX-DIFFERENCES, ANGER, ASYMMETRY, PARADIGM