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The limbic system plays a key role in how an organism responds to environmental threats and challenges and thus is believed to be the key factor in whether we respond aggressively or not to an external stimulus.
The limbic system, also known as the paleomammalian cortex, is a set of brain structures located on both sides of the thalamus, immediately beneath the medial temporal lobe of the cerebrum primarily in the midbrain.
Emotional life is largely housed in the limbic system, and it critically aids the formation of memories.
The limbic system is part of the brain that includes structures such as the amygdala, hypothalamus, and hippocampus that are implicated in reactive aggression.
Reactive aggression is a response to a perceived threat, as opposed to proactive aggression, which is a response in anticipation of a reward.