Brain Signature Of Aggressive Intimate Partner

Why do people hurt the ones they claim to love? There could be neurobiological causes. A new study led by Virginia Commonwealth University researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine the brain activity of 51 male-female romantic couples as they experienced intimate partner aggression in real time. They found that aggression toward intimate partners was associated with aberrant activity in the brain’s medial prefrontal cortex, or MPFC, which has many functions, but among them is the ability to foster perceptions of closeness with and value of other people. Says researcher David Chester, “We found that aggression towards intimate partners has a unique signature in the brain. There is something distinct happening at the neural level when people decide whether to harm their romantic partners, a process that differs in a meaningful way from decisions about whether to harm friends or strangers.”18

Comments are closed.