The Aggression Systems
Dynamics of Aggression - Introduction Page 23

Table of Contents


Preface Pages 1 - 2


Human aggression - introduction Pages 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8


Evolution of aggression - introduction Pages  9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14


Brain mechanisms of aggression - introduction Pages 15 - 16 - 17 - 18 - 19 - 20


Dynamics of aggression - introduction Pages 21 - 22 - 23


Profound changes in the operation of motivational systems are caused by the hormonal changes associated with seasonal changes, reproductive cycles, and social submission. These hormonal changes are described in terms of their location in the basic structure of motivational systems in the paper entitled, Hormone-Brain Interactions and Their Influence on Agonistic Behavior. Eight major loci of hormonal effects are described, including effects directly upon motivational mechanisms, upon the hypothetical consociate modulator, and upon sensory analyzers for motivating stimuli which affect offense and patrol-marking.

The various hormonal effects upon behavior are the mechanisms by which the animal shifts from one reproductive state to another, as a function of seasonal changes, reproductive cycles, and social status. In the final section of the hormone paper, six such reproductive states are described: courtship; pregnancy; lactation; social reproductive postponement; seasonal reproductive postponement; and emigration.

The relevance of reproductive states to human behavior is considered in the final paper of the book, Reproductive postponement and human depression in which it is suggested that what is usually called "mental illness" would be better analyzed as a form of reproductive postponement and treated as such. In the years since this paper was written there appears to be a growing awareness that the hormone changes that occur during "mental illness" are not a side effect, but rather a basic mechanism of the behavioral changes that we label as "abnormal. "

Finally, I would like to call attention to a completely different and higher dimension of change which is unique to the human species - consciousness development. In the papers on the role of anger in consciousness development, there have been allusions to the steps of consciousness development by which the individual can transcend his or her private existence and become a part of human history itself. Consideration of consciousness development would require us to venture far beyond the matter of aggressive behavior; the reader is referred instead to the discussion of this subject in my book, Psychology for Peace Activists, as an introduction to this fascinating subject.

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