University of Illinois at Chicago
NRN_Heinz_MS_v3_LWedit_1302278591_46_without__changes_final.pdf (141.4 kB)

Cognitive and Neurobiological Mechanisms of Alcohol-Related Aggression

Download (141.4 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2012-08-07, 00:00 authored by A.J. Heinz, A. Beck, A. Meyer-Lindenberg, P. Sterzer, A. Heinz
Alcohol-related violence is a serious and common social problem. Moreover, violent behaviour is much more common in alcohol-dependent individuals. Animal experiments and human studies have provided insights into the acute effect of alcohol on aggressive behaviour and into common factors underlying acute and chronic alcohol intake and aggression. These studies have shown that environmental factors, such as early–life stress, interact with genetic variations in serotonin-related genes that affect serotonergic and GABAergic neurotransmission. This leads to increased amygdala activity and impaired prefrontal function, which together predispose to both increased alcohol intake and impulsive aggression. In addition, acute and chronic alcohol intake can further impair executive control and thereby facilitate aggressive behaviour.


The authors were supported in part by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Excellence Cluster Exc 257 & STE 1430/2-1), the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (01 GS 08 159 & 01QG87164), the Centre for Integrated Life sciences (CILS) and the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (F31 AA018918).


Publisher Statement

Post print version of article may differ from published version. The definitive version is available through Nature Publishing Group at DOI:10.1038/nrn3042.


Nature Publishing Group


  • en_US



Issue date


Usage metrics


    No categories selected