Brain stimulation could zap out violent and criminal thoughts, according to new research

Business Insider | 7/3/2018 | Lindsay Dodgson
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A lot of how the brain controls our impulses remains a mystery.

But there are some areas, such as the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which have been linked to antisocial behaviour.

Scientists - Area - Activity - People - Tendencies

Scientists have shown stimulating this area to boost its activity could reduce people's violent tendencies.

In other words, it's the opposite of a lobotomy to remove the problem area.

Work - Researchers - Treatment - Criminals - Future

There is more work to be done, but the researchers are hopeful their treatment could be used on violent criminals in the future.

Neuroscientists are fairly certain of the functions of many areas of the brain. For example, the prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain associated with our complex ideas and behaviors.

Organ - Plenty - Mysteries - People - Psychopaths

But the organ also holds plenty of mysteries, such as why some people are incurable psychopaths, or why after a traumatic brain injury someone's personality can completely change to become violent and aggressive.

In a new study, published in the journal Journal of Neuroscience, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Nanyang Technological University attempted to answer questions about violent behaviours, and whether someone's criminal tendencies could be controlled with brain stimulation.

Adult - Participants - Half - Minutes - Brain

They recruited 86 adult participants, half of whom were given 20 minutes of non-invasive brain stimulation, half of whom were not. Then, they were asked to read two hypothetical scenarios, one about a physical assault (someone smashing a glass over a person's head for chatting up his girlfriend) and one about a sexual assault (where intimate foreplay led to rape).

Immediately after hearing the stories, the participants were asked to rate how likely they were to behave as the protagonist had. Those in the group who had the electrical stimulation were 47% and 70% less likely to relate to the person in the story committing the crimes.

Ability - Aspects - Cognition - Behavior - Body

"The ability to manipulate such complex and fundamental aspects of cognition and behavior from outside the body has...
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