Advances in brain science are calling into question the volition behind many criminal acts. A leading neuroscientist describes how the foundations of our criminal-justice system are beginning to crumble, and proposes a new way forward for law and order.
On the steamy first day of August 1966, Charles Whitman took an elevator to the top floor of the University of Texas Tower in Austin. The 25-year-old climbed the stairs to the observation deck, lugging with him a footlocker full of guns and ammunition. At the top, he killed a receptionist with the butt of his rifle. Two families of tourists came up the stairwell; he shot at them at point-blank range. Then he began to fire indiscriminately from the deck at people below. The first woman he shot was pregnant. As her boyfriend knelt to help her, Whitman shot him as well. He shot pedestrians in the street and an ambulance driver who came to rescue them.
Whitman’s body was taken to the morgue, his skull was put under the bone saw, and the medical examiner lifted the brain from its vault. He discovered that Whitman’s brain harbored a tumor the diameter of a nickel. This tumor, called a glioblastoma, had blossomed from beneath a structure called the thalamus, impinged on the hypothalamus, and compressed a third region called the amygdala. The amygdala is involved in emotional regulation, especially of fear and aggression. By the late 1800s, researchers had discovered that damage to the amygdala caused emotional and social disturbances. In the 1930s, the researchers Heinrich Klüver and Paul Bucy demonstrated that damage to the amygdala in monkeys led to a constellation of symptoms, including lack of fear, blunting of emotion, and overreaction. Female monkeys with amygdala damage often neglected or physically abused their infants. In humans, activity in the amygdala increases when people are shown threatening faces, are put into frightening situations, or experience social phobias. Whitman’s intuition about himself—that something in his brain was changing his behavior—was spot-on.
Glioblastoma multiforme. Nasty tumour. Life ruiner.
I remember studying this! If I was actually good at science and math, I would’ve gone into neuroscience/neuropsychology… the brain is a fascinating organ
I get a lot of the tuts/references I post here from archived posts on /ic/, so I was happy I recently found this! It’s a collection of a lot of links posted on /ic/ that encompasses a lot topics like anatomy, composition, painting, etc.
seriously, I should omit the part on my resume that says “Bachelor of Arts degree” if I want a simple summer job
When I was in school, I was treated like a dumbass, when I have a freaking degree, they go ‘well, this job isn’t rocket science……… its more for people who can do things under pressure, not the calmness of reading a book in a library….”
others are going “I have a degree, a huge student loan, look what good its doing! minimum wage, housekeeping!”
now my mom is giving me dirty looks because she can’t stand that I’m wasting my money away in university
As someone from Ontario, I can say that there is more of an Italian and Asian culture going on around here. Not nearly as much Ukrainian, which I find most unfortunate. ;A;
lol You took the words right out of my mouth girl lol There are ethnic Ukrainians all over Canada- I’m not saying that they’re all in the prairie provinces, but the highest concentration is spread across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Like if you think of Ukrainian-Canadians you don’t normally picture Toronto lol
this maritimer wants to visit you cutey western canadians ♥♥♥