Find the difference in the brains of the most dangerous people on the planet

Of the prisoners about 20% are psychopaths. By the age of 40 these men had committed an average of four barbaric crimes. In the 3 years after being released from prison, about 80% of them become repeat offenders.

Scientists are trying to discover what makes their brains different from those of normal people, and what makes an ordinary person a serial killer.

American neuroscientist James Fallon has studied for decades the brains of the most savage psychopaths and killers using magnetic resonance imaging. He noted that, unlike healthy people, the orbital cortex of psychopaths was less active. The orbital cortex contains gray matter above the roof of the eye responsible for living skills, morality, decision-making, impulse control, and aggression.

But, this isn’t the only factor that turns ordinary people into serial killers. The determining factor is emotional trauma, memories of violence in childhood , the scientist believes.

An example of this is Mr. James Fallon himself. In his book , The Psychopath Inside, about a neuroscientist’s personal journey into the dark side of the brain, he admits: “There were murderers in his family in the distant past, because So he did research on himself and his loved ones. It turned out that his brain, like the brains of serial killers, was also prone to violence. of the scientist was very happy, he was not subjected to violence, psychological pressure”.

Find the difference in the brains of the most dangerous people on the planet
Mental trauma is one of the factors that turn an ordinary person into a serial killer.

Previous studies have shown that psychopaths respond poorly to images that often cause intense feelings. One theory is that these people have underdeveloped tonsils – small areas in the brain’s white matter where emotional information is processed. In 2001, neuroscientist Kent Kiehl at the University of New Mexico confirmed this assumption using fMRI brain scans.

Kiehl and his colleagues used fMRI to study the brains of 903 psychiatric prisoners. In a paper published in March this year, the scientists noted not only poor functioning of the parts of the brain responsible for emotions, but also weak neural connections between parts of the brain. control emotions such as empathy, guilt, fear, anxiety. There are characteristic psychophysiological features – egoism, callousness, cruelty. The brains of prisoners with these features are clearly inherently structural anomalies.

Of the world’s population psychopaths make up only about 1%, but, the proportion of murderers-rapists among them is much higher. In addition, these guys tend to commit crimes more than once.

Among the rapists – serial killers are mostly psychopaths. They are well aware of what they are doing, aware of the reality of the situation. Some killers act impulsively when given the opportunity, others make plans, track down victims, hide their tracks. They imitate the behavior of a normal member of society, sometimes they have families, have children, such as Andrei Chikatilo , one of the most savage and most studied serial killers in the world. gender.

Find the difference in the brains of the most dangerous people on the planet
Andrei Chikatilo – savage serial killer.

Serial killers often have intelligence, but absolutely no emotional connection to others. They often have narcissistic personality disorder, are manipulative of others, and have a tendency to be violent. They kill because they like it and have no guilt or remorse.

It is thought that the brains of serial killers have organic changes. For example, researchers from the University of California compared serial killers to people with epilepsy: an increase in neural activity in the brains of people with this condition leads to seizures, and in the case of epilepsy. with the mentally ill that led to the murder.

After building a mathematical neural model of Chikatilo’s brain, scientists created the mathematical formula “Devil’s Staircase” – a graph of the number of murders over time, from which it is clear, the frenzied behavior is increasing, and the distance between crimes is shortening.

Scientist Philip Chassy from Liverpool Hope University (UK) suggests that certain plans of action to satisfy sexual fantasies cause powerful emotional outbursts encoded in the brains of everyday killers. series – and the madman awaits this as a reward.

It is known that criminals know how to fool Polygraph machine to detect lies, they can suppress external stimuli: heartbeat, skin conduction. But, they don’t have the ability to control brain activity, Chassy notes, so brain scans could reveal a serial killer’s “neural card” – while stimulating brain regions with intelligence. Autobiographical memory regulates sexual pleasure, hunting, and emotional control.

Not all psychopaths or victims of childhood violence become serial killers. There are a number of other factors that lead to tragic consequences for individuals and society. Scientists from the UK and Sweden suggest that these could be head injuries, different neurological and psychiatric disorders, for example, autism spectrum disorder .

The link between autism and criminal tendencies is being actively studied following the 2011 massacre of Anders Breivik, a fairly prosperous citizen. Some psychologists believe that Breivik had the signs and symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome . Unlike autism, people with Asperger’s syndrome still have intelligence.

Find the difference in the brains of the most dangerous people on the planet
Assassin Anders Breivik.

Experts analyzed the records of 239 savage killers who were apprehended after 1985, including 48 re-offenders and 58 serial killers. Of these, only 10% have autism spectrum disorder and 10% have head trauma. According to the study’s authors, those factors may play a role in criminal formation, but only when combined with social and biological causes.

The work on researching serial killers is in its early stages, but, scientists have already gathered a lot of information. It is clear that this phenomenon cannot be explained by just one factor: mental retardation, brain trauma, memories of violence in childhood or genetic factors, for example, by possession. MAOA “warrior gene” is linked to violent crime in men. Causes and consequences are still unknown – brain development disorders lead to violent behavior or, conversely, social and family factors negatively affect the formation of brain parts. Further research will help identify individuals who are prone to becoming serial killers in order to promptly prevent criminal acts.