Showing posts from 2011

Neuroscience or Neuromania?


Gender: Why Boys Keep Trucking

Enlarge Image Getty ImagesInnate fascination with propulsive motion may explain why boys gravitate to toys that move, like trucks. After watching videos of adults cradling and striking balloons, male but not female 6-to-9-month-olds began to hit balloons more often. This suggests that males have an innate fascination with "propulsive movement," researchers say. After getting acquainted with a toy balloon, 45 children—too young to label themselves by gender—watched split-screen video clips: On one side, a man or woman cradled a balloon; on the other, the same man or woman hit the balloon. Boys tended to watch the people striking balloons more than girls did. After watching, they batted their own balloons more than before, while girls didn't change behavior. There were no sex differences in how children handled the balloons before the videos started and no evidence that the parents of boys had promoted this play style. If an innate fascination with propulsive motion exists, it m…

The Divided Brain

Evil: Neuroscientists suggest there is no such thing. Are they right?

SLATE By |Posted Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, at 4:24 PM ET Anders Behring Breivik, suspect in the Oslo killings, leaves the courthouse in a police car
Photo by Jon-Are Berg-Jacobsen/AFP/Getty Images. Is evil over? Has science finally driven a stake through its dark heart? Or at least emptied the word of useful meaning, reduced the notion of a numinous nonmaterial malevolent force to a glitch in a tangled cluster of neurons, the brain? Yes, according to many neuroscientists, who are emerging as the new high priests of the secrets of the psyche, explainers of human

Fish oil to combat criminal behavior

Criminal Minds Are Different From Yours, Brain Scans Reveal by Clara Moskowitz, LiveScience Senior Writer Date: 04 March 2011

The latest neuroscience research is presenting intriguing evidence that the brains of certain kinds of criminals are different from those of the rest of the population.
While these findings could improve our understanding of criminal behavior, they also raise moral quandaries about whether and how society should use this knowledge to combat crime.
The criminal mind
In one recent study, scientists examined 21 people with antisocial personality disorder – a condition that characterizes many convicted criminals. Those with the disorder "typically have no regard for right and wrong. They may often violate the law and the rights of others," according to the Mayo Clinic.
Brain scans of the antisocial people, compared with a control group of individuals without any mental disorders, showed on…

The biology of criminality

June 12, 2011 Criminal Minds Adrian Raine thinks brain scans can identify children who may become killers
Jonathan Barkat for The Chronicle Review A child in Adrian Raine's lab at the U. of Pennsylvania, wearing a cap with electrodes to measure brain activity.

By Josh Fischman

Along with several other researchers, he has pioneered the science of neurodevelopmental criminology. In adult offenders, juvenile delinquents, and even younger children, dozens of studies have pointed to brain features that seem to reduce fear, impair decision making, and blunt emotional reactions to others' distress. The studies have also highlighted body reactions that are signs of this pattern and are tied to criminality.

"So if I could tell you, as a parent, that your child has a 75-percent chance of becoming a criminal, wouldn't you want to know and maybe have the chance to do something about it?" asks Raine....

Society has always wondered