Violence is a complex matter, and understandingly perhaps, it is the objective, behavioral aspects that are commonly focused on. Here, however, it is the subjective psychological and especially affective substrates of violence that are brought to the fore. Psychoanalytic perspectives provide a way of thinking about these that also sets them in a human‐developmental context. In this essay, psychoanalytic ideas about aggression and violence are considered, and what they have to say about the relationship between states of mind and behavior is critically reviewed. There also is an exploration of the ways that some recent findings in developmental science and neuroscience can refine and augment an understanding of these relationships, facilitating the construction of a psychobiological model, which may be placed in a social context. From this biopsychosocial perspective, aggression is seen as a heuristic concept that encapsulates numerous interacting elements that in ordinary development integrate and serve to promote optimal organism survival: By contrast, from this perspective, in humans violence may be understood as a pathological variant of aggression.