Date of this Version


Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Accepted version

Lyvers, M. (2000). Cognition, emotion, and the alcohol-aggression relationship: Comment on Giancola. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 8 (4), 607-608.

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Dr. Giancola’s thesis that the alcohol-aggression relationship can be explained by alcohol-induced disruption of executive cognitive functions mediated by the prefrontal cortex is critically examined. At moderate doses, alcohol has been reported to increase aggression in animals as diverse as fish, rats, cats, monkeys, and humans. Although alcohol depresses prefrontal cortex activity and disrupts executive cognitive performance in humans, alcohol’s anxiolytic actions, and/or its disinhibiting effects on subcortical structures implicated in anger and aggression, may be at least as important as the higher cognitive functions cited by Dr. Giancola in accounting for the alcohol-aggression relationship. Other drugs that alter prefrontal cortex activity have also been reported to influence aggressive responding in humans and other animals, and implications of this are briefly discussed.



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