Looking at Five Generations of a Single Dutch Family to Understand the Genetics of Violence

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Longreads

A short piece published yesterday in BBC Magazine explored the science of whether murderers are born or made. A British neurocriminologist named Adrian Raine has made a career out of studying the brains of violent criminals. Raine was the first person to conduct a brain imaging study on murderers, and has since scanned the brains of numerous homicidal individuals, looking for similarities. Raine’s brain scanning studies found two similarities in the brains of nearly all his participants: 1) reduced activity in the pre-frontal cortex, which means less emotional impulse control, and 2) over activation of the part of the brain that controls our emotions, called the amygdala. According to the BBC, Raine’s study suggests that ” that murderers have brains that make them more prone to rage and anger, while at the same time making them less able to control themselves.” Childhood abuse could be a factor because of the damage it can cause to the…

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