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ZJU team discovers provoking factors of anger and aggression
Source:Zhejiang University

On March 18, 2021, a research paper entitled“A Substantia Innominata-midbrain Circuit Controls a General Aggressive Response”by a research team of Academician Shumin Duan and Professor Yanqin Yu from the School of Brain Science and Brain Medicine Zhejiang University was published in Neuron, an internationally recognized journal. 

From a physiological perspective, provocation can evoke anger and even induce violence in humans. The team found the same to be true in mice. 

The study focused on the posterior insula (pSI), an extension of the amygdala in mice. By recording the cellular activity of the nonsense, the team discovered that after the two mice fought, the nonsense became extremely hyperactive, similar to mobilizing and calling on the "armed forces of the brain," and even sounding a "charge" before the fight, signaling that an attack would follow. 

The team found that the posterior nonsense neurons encode different intensities of threatening stimuli according to degrees of threat and anger. It suggests that we might perceive the magnitude of "anger" from the level of arousal in the posterior nonsense. 

Ways to control untimely attacks will be the next significant objective of the research team.