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Original Article

Exp Neurobiol 2018; 27(6): 526-538

Published online December 28, 2018

© The Korean Society for Brain and Neural Sciences

Gender Differences in Aggression-related Responses on EEG and ECG

SeungYeong Im1,2, Gwonhyu Jin1, Jinju Jeong3,4, Jiwoo Yeom1, Janghwan Jekal1, Sang-im Lee1, Jung Ah Cho1, Sukkyoo Lee1, Youngmi Lee1, Dae-Hwan Kim1, Mijeong Bae1, Jinhwa Heo1, Cheil Moon2*, and Chang-Hun Lee1*

1School of Undergraduate Studies, DGIST, Daegu 42988, Korea.

2Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Graduate School, DGIST, Daegu 42988, Korea.

3Undergraduate School Administration Team, DGIST, Daegu 42988, Korea.

4Well Aging Research Center, DGIST, Daegu 42988, Korea.

Correspondence to: *To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Chang-Hun Lee, TEL: 82-53-785-6612, FAX: 82-53-785-6609
Cheil Moon, TEL: 82-53-785-6100, FAX: 82-53-785-6109

Received: August 16, 2018; Revised: October 30, 2018; Accepted: November 8, 2018

Gender differences in aggression viewed from an evolutionary and sociocultural perspective have traditionally explained why men engage in more direct and physical aggression, and women engage in more indirect and relational aggression. However, psychological and behavioral studies offer inconsistent support for this theory due to personal or social factors, and little is known about the gender-based neurobiological mechanisms of aggression. This study investigates gender differences in aggression through an analysis of electroencephalography (EEG) and electrocardiography (ECG) based neurobiological responses to commonly encountered stimuli, as well as psychological approaches in healthy Korean youth. Our results from self-reports indicate that overall aggression indices, including physical and reactive/overt aggression, were stronger in men. This agrees with the results of previous studies. Furthermore, our study reveals prominent gender-related patterns in γ signals from the right ventrolateral frontal cortex and changes in heart rate through stimulation by aggressive videos. In particular, gender differences in EEG and ECG responses were observed in response to different scenes, as simple aversion and situation-dependent aggression, respectively. In addition, we discovered decisive gender-distinct EEG signals during stimulation of the situation-dependent aggression regions within the right ventromedial prefrontal and ventrolateral frontal regions. Our findings provide evidence of a psychological propensity for aggression and neurobiological mechanisms of oscillation underlying gender differences in aggression. Further studies of oscillatory responses to aggression and provocation will expand the objective understanding of the different emotional worlds between men and women.

Graphical Abstract

Keywords: Gender, Aggression, EEG, ECG, CHAID