Intimate partner violence perpetration corresponds to a dorsal-ventral gradient in medial PFC reactivity to interpersonal provocation.

TitleIntimate partner violence perpetration corresponds to a dorsal-ventral gradient in medial PFC reactivity to interpersonal provocation.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
JournalSocial neuroscience
Pagination1-10
Date Published2018
ISSN1747-0919
Abstract

Intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration is often preceded by perceived interpersonal provocations such as slights, insults, and rejections. Yet the neural mechanisms that link provocation to IPV remain unclear. In the context of interactions with strangers, the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) has been repeatedly shown to respond to provocation, with more dorsal activation associated with more aggressive reactions and more ventral activation associated with less aggressive reactions. We used functional brain imaging to test whether this dorsal-ventral MPFC reactivity gradient would also correlate with greater aggression towards an unexamined target: intimate partners. To do so, 61 undergraduates (27.87% male, age range: 18-22) reported whether they had ever committed various acts of IPV perpetration (e.g., punching, hitting, shoving) and then were repeatedly provoked by a stranger while undergoing functional MRI (fMRI) scanning. Individuals with a disproportionately dorsal, rather than ventral, MPFC response were more likely to have perpetrated IPV and had perpetrated more kinds of IPV, even when controlling for gender. These findings provide further evidence that the dorsal-ventral MPFC gradient is a critical, biological indicator of whether an individual is more or less likely to react aggressively and suggest new avenues for understanding and potentially preventing IPV perpetration.

DOI10.1080/17470919.2018.1430613
Short TitleSoc Neurosci
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