Cognitive Antecedents of Violence and Aggression

  • Adrienne K. Elliott
  • Allan F. Mirsky
Part of the Neurobiological Foundation of Aberrant Behaviors book series (NFAB, volume 5)


Research on the antecedents of aggression and violence has increased considerably in recent years, as parents, researchers, and policy makers endeavor to understand this phenomenon. Many theories have been proposed (e.g., Pincus, 2001) and numerous intervention strategies have been tried (see Elliott & Tolan 1999), with varying degrees of success. Many factors contribute to the development of aggressive behavior, and although research offers some general predictors, there remains a large degree of uncertainty that at present can not be captured by a single theory. In this chapter, we explore the role of impaired or altered cognition in the genesis of aggressive behavior: what neuropsychological deficits are observed in aggressive individuals, what might be contributing to or causing these deficits, and how do these limitations influence behavior? Special emphasis is given to the frontal lobes and executive functioning, as well as putative brain disease and a number of environmental factors that contribute directly and indirectly to aggression. While impaired cognition may not account for all the variance, it seems to represent an important piece of the aggression puzzle.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Aggressive Behavior Schizophrenic Patient Parenting Style Violent Behavior 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adrienne K. Elliott
    • 1
  • Allan F. Mirsky
    • 1
  1. 1.Section on Clinical and Experimental NeuropsychologyNIMH/NIHUSA

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