Christian Long

Jim Fallon: Exploring the Mind of a Killer

In TED Talks on May 4, 2010 at 9:56 pm

Extra credit reflection by MELISSA H.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Jim Fallon:  Exploring the Mind of a Killer

Jim Fallon is a neuroscientist who studies the behavior of many things. He started doing a study on the brains of killers.

When he compared the brains of several psychopathic killers compared to non killers their brains were different. In the brain of a killer, they had damage in their orbital cortex which is above the eyes. This was a pattern on all the killers, but the kind of brain damage varied.

This is a blind experiment that he does. He receives about 70 different brains and compares all them and looks at the interaction with their environment, brain damage, and genetics. When receiving them, he does not know whether it is a brain of a normal person or a killer so to find out her studies the behavior of them and looks as said above.

There is than the MAOA gene that is sex linked on the X chromosome, which means you only receive it from your mother. This MAOA gene is also linked to violent behavior. This is why most killers are men or aggressive. Women receive an X chromosome from their father and their mother, so they genes remain diluted. Men can only get an X chromosome from their mother, and the Y from their father.
When passed from mother to son, it could be bad if the babies brain is soaked in serotonin which is actually suppose to make you calm. But if you have the MAOA gene your brain becomes insensitive you serotonin. For this gene to work you have to be involved in something really traumatic. Not something like stress, but a 3D of something just excruciating. In certain countries, kids are constantly seeing terrible things happening around them which is setting off the MAOA gene and causing them to be violent when they are older.

What is really ironic is the fact that Jim Fallon actually comes from a family with history or violence and murder. His great great great great great great grandfather was actually the first murder of a mother by a son. But, that’s not the only murderer in his family.

Maybe we all have history of murderers in our family we just don’t know about yet.

This is the picture of the orbital cortex and the difference of a killer and a non killer:

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