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Many researchers have explored the relationship of alcohol to aggression using variations of an experimental approach developed more than 35 years ago (8,9). In a typical example, a subject administers electric shocks or other painful stimuli to an unseen "opponent," ostensibly as part of a competitive task involving learning and reaction time. Violent words and actions are tools an abusive partner uses to gain and maintain power and control over their partner.Any young person can experience dating abuse or unhealthy relationship behaviors, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic standing, ethnicity, religion or culture.Other studies involving humans are based on epidemiological surveys or data obtained from archival or official sources. Alcohol may encourage aggression or violence by disrupting normal brain function.
This Alcohol Alert explores the association between alcohol consumption, violence, and aggression and the role of the brain in regulating these behaviors.
Unknown to the subject, the reactions of the nonexistent opponent are simulated by a computer.
Subjects perform both while sober and after consuming alcohol. Alcohol-related violence: Psychological perspectives.
By impairing information processing, alcohol can also lead a person to misjudge social cues, thereby overreacting to a perceived threat (6).
Simultaneously, a narrowing of attention may lead to an inaccurate assessment of the future risks of acting on an immediate violent impulse (7).