Neural Correlates of Aggression among Individuals from Low and High Socioeconomic Status: An ERP Study

  •  Yizhu Wang    
  •  Yufang Zhao    
  •  Jiang Qiu    
  •  Oscar Ybarra    
  •  Lu Liu    
  •  Yuqing Huang    


Event-related brain potentials were recorded to investigate electrophysiological correlates of aggression in high and low socioeconomic status (SES) participants who responded to violent and nonviolent images by using a choice reaction time paradigm. ERP data showed that violent images elicited a smaller N2 deflection than did nonviolent images in both high and low SES groups, but there was no difference in N2 amplitudes to aggressive and non-aggressive information as a function of SES. Notably, the latency of N2 in the low SES group was longer than that of the high SES group, suggesting slowness by the low SES group in deploying control responses. In addition, the low SES group exhibited significantly smaller P3 amplitudes to violent images, suggesting a reduction in brain activity known to reflect activation of the aversive motivational system, and this findings link this brain activity to aggressive behavior. As a whole the present findings show that participants low in SES seem to display similar psychophysiological responses to individuals high in aggression.

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