Influence of trait hostility on tryptophan depletion-induced laboratory aggression

Donald M. Dougherty, James M. Bjork, Dawn M. Marsh, F. Gerard Moeller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Previous research has indicated that laboratory aggression in men increases after temporarily reducing the synthesis and neurotransmission of serotonin (5-HT) in the brain using the plasma L-tryptophan (Trp) depletion technique. Further research indicates that male subjects selected for high trait hostility are particularly prone to increased aggression following plasma Trp depletion. In a recent study of laboratory aggression in male control subjects, we demonstrated that laboratory aggression increased following ingestion of a Trp-depleting beverage, but not after ingestion of a Trp-containing beverage nor under food-restricted conditions. We report here that the increases in aggression under Trp-depleted conditions were specific to men who scored the highest on the Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire. These preliminary data support earlier findings that compared to non-hostile men, hostile men may be more prone to behavior change induced by the perturbation of the 5-HT neurotransmitter system. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-232
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 29 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Aggression
  • Behavior
  • Hostility
  • Human
  • Serotonin
  • Tryptophan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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