Neurobiological correlates and clinical implications of aggressive subtypes

Rebecca J. Houston, Matthew S. Stanford, Nicole R. Villemarette-Pittman, Sarah M. Conklin, Laura E. Helfritz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Research on aggression and violence has consistently recognized two subtypes of aggressive behavior: a reactive or impulsive type and a predatory or premeditated type. Several studies have also demonstrated the importance of classifying aggressive behavior in relation to treatment/intervention outcome, suggesting that the extent to which neurobiological variables influence impulsive and premeditated aggressive behavior differs. Despite these results, few neurobiological studies of aggression have attempted to classify violent behavior according to these subtypes. This article selectively reviews literature on the neurobiological correlates of aggression focusing on studies that have specifically examined or compared aggressive subtypes (impulsive or premeditated). In addition, a clinically effective classification scheme for aggressive behavior is presented along with supporting personality and psychophysiological data. Issues relevant to the study, identification, and treatment of aggressive behavior are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-87
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Forensic Neuropsychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2003


  • Aggression
  • Event-related potentials
  • Impulsive
  • Personality
  • Premeditated

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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