For the general topic of aggression, the group considered the survey responses received by NIMH from the field prior to the workshop and agreed that aggression is best described as a behavior, and not necessarily a motivational state. A variety of motivations may lead to a similar set of behavioral presentations that encompass aggressive behavior. As such, participants discussed whether all forms of aggression would be appropriate for the NVS Domain. There was some discussion about creating a multi-faceted definition of aggression under the NVS Domain, with specific sub-definitions for three important and distinct forms of aggression (frustrative non-reward, offensive aggression, and defensive aggression) that may offer the potential for clarifying how different forms of aggressive behaviors are linked to distinct neural systems. The RDoC Working Group agreed with these distinctions, and decided that neither defensive aggression nor offensive (proactive) aggression met criteria for inclusion as an NVS Construct at this time; as outlined above (see “Distinctions among Constructs”), however, these latter two types of aggression were seen as appropriate to other parts of the RDoC Matrix. Empirical work might help to clarify or refine how aggression (and/or its component parts) may ultimately be best represented within the RDoC framework.
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