1) Neurotransmission can be defined as the passage of electric impulses across the synaptic gaps of neurons via chemical agents called neurotransmitters. Packets of neurotransmitters are released by neurons and activate the receptors of another neuron after the impulse reaches the axon terminal. Neurotransmitters, which can act in either inhibitory or excitatory way, are important for every aspect of human life, starting with sleep and ending with crying. The lack or excess of certain neurotransmitters has major implications for criminality and violence. Thus, low levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is an inhibiting neurotransmitter, are associated with violence and aggression, whereas high levels lead to passive behavior. Lack of serotonin, another inhibiting neurotransmitter, is involved in the causation of numerous clinical disorders and deviant behaviors, such as alcoholism. Biological Sex Differences in Violence Essay Assignment.In many empirical studies, low levels of this neurotransmitter have been linked with violent crimes and violent forms of suicide, with disposition toward aggression being mostly preserved throughout entire life of a person. Low levels of serotonin are conducive to criminality both directly (by weakening the restraints for aggressive impulses) and indirectly (by causing clinical disorders and changing the brain chemistry). Excessive production of excitatory neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine is also related to the increase in aggressive behaviors and psychotic disorders. However, at present, scientists are inclined to believe the there is curvilinear relation between these neurotransmitters and violence, i.e. both abnormally high and low levels can dispose a person toward criminality.
2) Hormones are biochemicals secreted into blood to regulate the activity of tissues and organs. The hormone that has been most consistently linked to violence and criminal behavior is testosterone: men with overproduction of testosterone are often disposed to criminal actions. On the other hand, violent behavior in women is also related to hormonal changes, as a large number of women commit crimes during their premenstrual cycle, due to low levels of estrogen and higher levels of progesterone. In general, though, male hormones are more associated with aggressive behavior and crimes than female ones. Criminal offending is also stimulated by either abnormally low or high level of cortisol, which is involved in the arousal system of the autonomic nervous system.Biological Sex Differences in Violence Essay Assignment.
3) There are large differences in the brain functioning and hormonal activity of men and women, which naturally account for the differences in social behavior. As to the brain structure, women have deeper limbic structures, which is one of the factors that explain their larger propensity for communication and empathy. Most of the disparities, however, are functional rather than structural. Men are prone to rely on one brain hemisphere while women have better connectivity between the right and the left hemispheres, perhaps due to larger corpus callosum. Enhanced transmission of information between the hemispheres in females is often believed to explain higher verbal ability and affective memory of women as compared to men. Instead, men have been consistently shown to perform better at mathematics and other nonverbal activities. Lower verbal ability has been linked with criminality, which is one of the reasons why men are more inclined to commit crimes. Males are more apt in mental rotation tasks, while women perform them in remembering the location of objects in space. Males are generally better at spatial orientation tasks, due to higher metabolism in the cerebellum. The level of hormones also affects the cognitive and emotional functioning of men and women: females cope better with mental rotation tasks when their level of androgen is high, while both females and males with relatively high level of estrogen are better at remembering the location of objects. In general, brain structure and hormonal regulation of women make them more communicative and more apt in receiving, recalling and expressing emotions than men. Consequently, they are less inclined to commit crimes and when they do commit a crime, they prefer a less violent method. However, the propensity toward criminality largely depends on the degree of the male and the female in each person, as there are many in-between states where the hormonal activity or brain functioning of a male is closer to a female and vice versa.Biological Sex Differences in Violence Essay Assignment.
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