Researchers at University of Cambridge have linked antisocial behaviour in male adolescents to a reduced level of cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress. Cortisol enhances memory formation (and may be linked to our “flashbulb memories” of stressful events) and is believed to be related to cautious behaviour and emotional regulation.
Youth who engage in severely antisocial behaviour do not demonstrate the same increase in cortisol in stressful situations as those without behaviour problems. The researchers suggest that antisocial behaviour, at least in part, may be related to biological factors.
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