TITLE

Stimulation-Induced Behavioral Inhibition: A New Model for Understanding Physical Violence

AUTHOR(S)
Mawson, Anthony R.
PUB. DATE
July 1999
SOURCE
Integrative Physiological & Behavioral Science;Jul-Sep99, Vol. 34 Issue 3, p177
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Abstract--Physical violence is widely considered to result from action carried out with the intention of causing injury; that is, from aggression. However, the "hypothesis" of aggression is inapplicable in all but a few instances as well as inappropriate for many destructive, rage-associated responses directed at inanimate objects. This paper outlines a new perspective on physical violence, reinterpreting many behaviors hitherto labeled aggressive as stimulation-seeking behaviors (SSBs) above an arbitrary level of intensity. It is further proposed that: 1) physical violence is a by-product of SSB, driven in part by brain catecholaminergic (CA) systems, and the direct result of exchanges of energy that exceed the body's tolerance threshold; 2) allegedly discrete categories of motor-motivational behavior represent overlapping bands of intensity on a continuous spectrum of SSB; and 3) the sensory input derived from SSB is fed back into the central nervous system where it activates brain serotonergic and/or cholinergic systems, which in turn inhibit CA systems, resulting in a general state of behavioral quiescence. In addition to accounting for a number of previously unexplained observations, the model suggests that physical violence could be prevented by providing groups at high risk with extensive opportunities for therapeutic sensory stimulation to substitute for that derived from excessive SSB. For people at especially high risk, portable devices could be developed that would allow the user to self-administer desired levels of sensory stimulation at moments of intense anger, thereby preventing potentially dangerous outbursts of SSB prior to the onset of the behavior.
ACCESSION #
2336809

 

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