The Aggression Systems


The statements on this Website are based on over 40 years of laboratory research on the evolution, brain mechanisms and dynamics of aggressive behavior in animals and humans. In the course of my research I had to change my guiding assumptions: at first I thought that aggression is a cause of the world's injustices; instead, I came to realize that the proper use of aggression in the form of righteous indignation is essential for peace activism and education.

The research is collected and summarized here as a 500-page Internet book entitled "The Aggression Systems: Human Aspects; Evolution; Brain Mechanisms; and Dynamics." It addresses animal and human aggression by techniques of neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, genetics, ethology and animal behavior, anthropology and developmental and social psychology and shows that the aggression systems are remarkably simple and stable throughout the evolution of mammals.

This research was reviewed extensively by leading specialists in the Behavioral and Brain Sciences in 1979, and this is now updated in a review I have published in 2006 in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Sciences.

This book is a scientific rebuttal of those who claim that war is inherent in human nature. It provides extensive scientific evidence on the nature of the aggression systems which shows that war and other institutional behaviors have no direct genetic or neurophysiological basis. Next time you hear some expert expound on the biological basis of warfare, ask him or her if they have recorded from single neurons or isolated single genes of aggressive behavior as in the data provided here. And ask if they have tried using methods such as cross-cultural anthropology as done here to get at the prehistoric cultural origins of these behaviors.


The Aggression Systems is not available in most libraries and although a number of its chapters were published in prestigious journals, a large part of the text is not available except in this form.

Table of Contents