Essay on Violence and the Brain
Is there a biological basis for violent behavior in the brain? Recent research links "neurological impairments and psychoses" to violent behavior (1).
The "psychological effects" of brain damage and disease can cause the mind to lose touch with reality leading to criminal and violent behavior (1). As a result, free will may be deserted in an individual suffering from abnormalities and chemical imbalances in the brain (2). Consequently, legal issues arise because violent offenders with mental illnesses or brain injuries are not always to blame due to the biological nature of their diseases (2). However, violence in psychiatric and neurological patients can be prevented for the most part through medication and …show more content…
Neurobiological research of violent and psychopathic behavior suggests there is a direct link between the enzyme, monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) and violence (3). In this particular study, H.G. Brunner associated aggression in males with "a mutation in the gene that codes for an enzyme, monoamine oxidase A (MAOA), which metabolizes the brain chemicals seratonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine" (3). In addition to Brunners research, Olivier Cases experimented with "MAOA-deficient" rat pups and adults (3). Cases data for the rat pups reported "abnormal behavior including trembling, fearfulness, and exaggerated startle reactions" (3). The adult rats displayed signs of intense aggression in which they attacked each other (3). Moreover, the pups had "elevated seratonin and norepinephrine" levels, whereas, the adults only had "elevated norepinephrine" levels (3). The rats also had "abnormalities in the somatosensory cortexes" (3). From this study, there is evidence that violence is biology-based. These findings, the researchers say, support the theory that the aggressive behavior of Brunners human subjects is a direct result of MAOA deficiency, rather than other genetic influences or