R3 Speaks – Affective vs. Predatory Violence: All Violence is not the Same
Mitigating an act of violence before one occurs is essential to keeping your organization and its people safe. Identifying behaviors of concern is one way to thwart potential dangers. Warning signs can be recognized by implementing a Behavioral Risk Threat Assessment (BeRThA®) program. The Firestorm BeRThA® process instructs organizations how to identify key warning signs, collect information into a central repository and proceed to appropriate action steps – all before a crisis strikes. In addition to identification, behaviors of concern must be understood, resulting in lessons learned for the future.
Download the Brief: Behavioral Risk Threat Assessment – How do you stop bullying, suicide and guns before it’s too late? to learn more about BeRThA®
Our partners at R3 Continuum have created the following enlightening video featuring Dr. George L. Vergolias, PsyD, LP, and Vice President/Associate Medical Director of R3 Continuum. Dr. Vergolias explains the different types of violence and why mitigation has failed various times.
There is a clear and well-developed body of research showing that humans have two distinct psychobiological modes of violence and aggression response. One is Affective, or emotional; the other is Predatory, or targeted. Affective violence mobilizes the emotional “fight or flight” response system, towards thwarting off or evading a threat. Predatory violence mobilizes a more cognitive planning attack mode, designed to “hunt” down an intended target(s).
These operate on different anatomical structures and neuronal pathways in the brain, and mobilize different parts of our body to respond to different situations. They are also mutually exclusive and incompatible for simultaneous function – we cannot be in both modes at the same time.
As we witness increased mass attacks, global and domestic terror, and other acts of violence, there is much discussion about violence in the mental health treatment community, the media, and in our culture as a whole. But we repeatedly fail to make the distinction in understanding, and talking about, these different types of violence, their differing dynamics, and how those impact our ability to detect, mitigate, and develop interventions at the public policy and individual levels to reduce violence incidence.
Yet, without such clarity we are destined to fall short in our understanding of violence as it occurs in various contexts, and thus also destined to fail in identifying the correct solutions. It’s time we had that discussion to clarify those concepts.