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Pain Thresholds, Pain Induced Frontal Alpha Activity and Pain Evoked Potentials are Linked to Antisocial and Aggressive Behavior in Athletes

we determined the extent to which 5 pain thresholds and cortical activity in response to painful electrical stimulation were 6 associated with antisocial behavior in sport and aggressiveness; we also examined their link

Christopher Ring, PhD, Maria Kavussanu, Adrian Willoughby

Abstract 2 Objectives: Deficiencies in perceptual and cognitive functions have been linked with 3 antisocial and aggressive behavior. To test whether these putative relationships generalise 4 to sport – a context where such behavior is common – we determined the extent to which 5 pain thresholds and cortical activity in response to painful electrical stimulation were 6 associated with antisocial behavior in sport and aggressiveness; we also examined their link 7 to moral disengagement. 8 Design: A cross-sectional design was used. 9 Method: Ninety-four participants completed questionnaires, had their pain threshold 10 determined, and then had their central and frontal pain-related cortical activity recorded 11 while they were electrically stimulated at supra-threshold intensity. 12 Results: Subjective pain thresholds were positively related while pain induced frontal alpha 13 power was negatively related to antisocial behaviour and aggressiveness. Central pain 14 evoked potential amplitudes were negatively related to aggressiveness and moral 15 disengagement. 16 Conclusions: Sensitivity to, and cortical processing of, noxious stimuli were reduced in 17 individuals, who more frequently behave antisocially and aggressively when playing sport 18 and who are more likely to use psychosocial maneuvers to justify their harmful behavior. 19 Our findings reveal that pain-related deficits are a feature of individuals who engage in more 20 frequent antisocial and aggressive behavior in the context of sport. 21 22 Keywords: aggression; antisocial behaviour; electroencephalography; moral 23 disengagement; pain

 

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