Understand the Psychology Behind Acts of Violence Such as Assault

December 22nd, 2023
Understand the Psychology Behind Acts of Violence Such as Assault

In today’s blog article, we are going to talk about the science and psychology behind acts of violence such as assault. Criminal defence lawyers often are representing clients accused of violent acts, so some understanding of why and how this behavior occurs is fundamental for the criminal lawyer.

We have some ideas about what causes and incites violence, but this science is not definitive because human behaviour is unpredictable. It would be unethical to conduct research to incite violent behaviour and see what causes it. So, determining the causes is not easy.

Anger and Aggression

Experts generally agree that anger and aggression are behind acts of violence such as assault. And men typically show more aggression than women do. However, anger and aggression may have some evolutionary benefits for us, so what exactly causes outward acts of violence is more complicated than that. Men having the ability to express anger or aggression may have saved their lives, and the lives of their families, in the distant past.

Other Factors

Then there are other factors that may ramp up anger and aggression, transforming it into violence. Drugs and alcohol, for example, definitely can make things worse. Alcohol tends to lower inhibitions, and drugs can dull one’s sense of morals and even one’s sense of reality.


Being in a group can add to violent behaviour. People commit more crimes when they are in a group and being egged on by group members, such as gangs. This social pressure can be a big factor in acting out criminal behaviour.


Then there is how we are each individuals with individual brains and different wiring. Some people raised in environments where aggression is encouraged, may have been trained to react violently and have those circuit pathways well entrenched.

So, why some of us act violently is not black and white. In addition, the crime of assault has a wide range of possibilities from mild to egregious.

What is important to know is that if you are charged with any criminal offence including assault, hire criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible.   

Gagan Nahal is a criminal defence lawyer based in Surrey, British Columbia, although he has represented clients across Canada. He works vigorously and tirelessly defending his clients. 

If you have any questions about this article or you would like to talk to Mr. Nahal, please call him directly at (604) 527-4769.