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November 21, 1980

Psychopharmacology of Aggression

JAMA. 1980;244(20):2354. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310200078037

This small volume, sponsored by the British Association for Psychopharmacology, consists of 17 chapters from departments of ethology, pharmacology, neurosurgery, psychology, and psychiatry, among others. The chapters address the forms of aggressive behavior in humans and lower animals, the neuropharmacologic and endocrine aspects of aggressive behavior, clinical approaches to aggressive behavior, and some social aspects of human aggression.

The initial chapters concerned with aggressive behavior in animals and its pharmacologic bases are uniformly well written and informative. The chapter "The Ethology of Aggression" by P. J. B. Slater is a particularly valuable primer on the classification, causation, and functions of aggression.

The following eight chapters, which describe the neuropharmacology and endocrinology of aggression, are informative but redundant. Delini-Stula and Vassouts's conclusion that "there is no common mechanism for all types of aggressivity" accurately reflects the substance of the reports included in this section. Particular types of aggressivity are associated with