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Aggression-related effects of alcohol – Irritability, brain function, and violence

October 5th, 2009

Irritability is an important factor determining alcohol-related aggression among men, according to a recent study.

bar fightThe study of 313 men and women tested people’s likelihood of giving shocks to a fictitious opponent after drinking either alcohol or a placebo drink. Researchers used measures of brain functioning and irritability taken before drinking to test their relationship to the participants’ aggressive behavior.

It seems that for men, but not for women, irritability was an important factor in the relationship between overall brain functioning and aggression. It’s important to note here that irritability is considered an overall personality trait, and not a momentary sort of thing. The more irritable the intoxicated men were, the stronger the effect of the alcohol’s brain dysregulation was on aggression.

The effect of brain dysregulation (known as cognitive dysregulation in the literature) and of irritability alone on alcohol-related aggression had been studied before. However, this study allowed researchers to assess the relationship between all three variables.

Among all the effects of alcohol, this sure helps explain bar fights…


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