Background. The catechol-O-methyl transferase gene influences the reuptake of monoamines (dopamine, serotonin, noradrenaline) from the synaptic space. The structural peculiarities of this gene are linked with the duration of stay of neurotransmitters in the synaptic gap and the emergence and duration of emotional reactions, which may considerably affect a person’s level of aggressiveness; these peculiarities may manifest as psychophysiological characteristics.
Objective and design. This study investigated the amplitude, spatio-temporal traits and sources of evoked brain activity in men with several genotypes in the polymorphic locus Val158Met in the COMT (Catechol-O-methyl transferase) gene, levels of aggressiveness using the Buss-Darkee inventory, proneness to various types of deviant and addictive behaviors in accordance with the methods of A.N. Oryol and the preferred strategies of behavior during conflict in accordance with the methods of Kenneth Thomas. Statistical processing of psychodiagnostic data included dispersive (ANOVA) and discriminative analyses.
Results. This study found significant differences in the parameters of evoked brain activity components in responses to emotionally charged stimuli (“aggression”, “positive”, “tolerance”, “extremism, terrorism”) compared with neutral images. Student’s t-test (Holms- corrected for multiple comparisons) was used to analyze the EEG-VEP data.
Conclusion. This study confirmed the hypothesis of differences in spatio-temporal and amplitude parameters of evoked brain potentials in young men exhibiting differing levels of aggressiveness. The sources of evoked brain activity determined using sLORETA (Standardized Low-resolution Brain Electromagnetic Tomography) were different between carriers of different genotypes.
Keywords: aggressiveness, visual-evoked potentials, COMT, neurotransmitters, emotionally charged stimuli