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February 07, 2009, 2:30 PM

On Aggression

Participants: Edward Donnerstein, Peter Moskos, Debra Niehoff, Theodore Shapiro (moderator)

The roundtable On Aggression is the first in a series focussing on what is often referred to as the aggressive drive. This terminology is somewhat inexact because a wide variety of behaviors comprise what is normally defined as aggressive. Aggression is essential for survival, a component of erotic and sexual behavior, and a necessity in competition and the achievement goals and success. Yet it is also the force behind murder, war, sexual violence, and genocide. This opening roundtable will focus on the role and necessity of aggression for evolution and survival, its role as part of normative behavior, its neurobiological and neuroanatomical underpinnings, as well as its more pathological manifestations. The panelists—a sociologist, a professor of law, a neurobiologist, and a psychoanalyst—will investigate aggression in all of its great complexity and many manifestations

Edward Donnerstein is Professor of Communication and Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Arizona. His major research interests are in mass-media violence, as well as mass media policy. He has published over 220 scientific articles in these general areas and serves on the editorial boards of a number of academic journals in both psychology and communication. He was a member of the American Psychological Associations Commission on Violence and Youth, and the APA Task Force on Television and Society. Dr. Donnerstein recently served on a Surgeon Generals panel on youth violence. He served on the Advisory Council of the American Medical Association Alliances violence prevention program, and is Past-President of the International Society for Research on Aggression. In addition, he was primary research site director for the National Cable Television Association's 3.5 million-dollar project on TV violence.

Peter Moskos is Assistant Professor of Law and Police Science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. His first book, Cop in the Hood, is based on his experiences as a Baltimore City police officer working in a high-crime ghetto (an area known to many from the HBO series, The Wire). As a police officer, Moskos worked at ground zero in the drug war. He saw a police-centered and arrest-based approach to the drug problem fail. Moskos believes that the key to better policing and better communities is more foot patrol and ending the war on drugs.

Debra Niehoff is a neurobiologist, science writer, and educator. She is the author of The Biology of Violence: How Understanding the Brain, Behavior, and Environment Can Break the Vicious Circle of Aggression and The Language of Life: How Cells Communicate in Health and Disease, as well as articles on the neurobiological origins and consequences of violence for academic, professional, and consumer audiences. Dr. Niehoff is an adjunct professor of psychology at Bucks County Community College, as well as an instructor in the college's Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development, and has also taught at the FBI Academy. In addition, she serves on the Board of Directors for Libertae, a residential treatment facility for women in recovery and their children.

Theodore Shapiro is Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. He was formerly Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. He is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute and a member of the Columbia Psychoanalytic Clinic for Research and Training. His work in developmental disabilities and linguistics as they interact with psychoanalysis and psychiatry is well represented in over 200 scholarly papers and book reviews. Dr. Shapiro has also written or edited six books. He is the author of Clinical Psycholinguistics and the editor of Volume 5 of Psychoanalysis & Contemporary Science. He has been on the Editorial Boards of numerous journals, and served for ten-years as the Editor of the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. Dr. Shapiro is currently a co-investigator in studies concerning hypnosis and neuroscience and in a study of Dynamic Psychotherapy for Panic Disorder in Adults and Adolescents.


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