Amygdala|Neuroscience topic|AtoZ Day 1

 Image I watched a Ted video yesterday about serial killers and the way their brains work.

There was an interesting premise interpreted by Daniel Reisel, the man giving the lecture, that the reason why criminals have little to no empathy is because their AMYGDALA is inefficient.

The Amydala is an “almond-shaped set of neurons located deep in the brain’s temporal lobe.” Science Daily 

It’s believed to be have the significant responsibility of processing emotions.

Reisel also explains how modern science has detected that new brain cells can be developed in certain parts of the adult brain, including the Amygdala. Studies previous to the 1990’s had shown that the adult brain only has so many cells and cannot create more. Though this is a magnificent find in the study of neuroscience, Reisel describes that the process of developing new cells in the adult brain is halted by daily stress. However, the brain can grow and with the proper training, the Amygdala can grow and function properly for those who are lacking(i.e. Criminals).

Reisel ends the video by promoting the idea of developing an Amygdala rehabilitation program for criminals who will eventually be released back into society. The idea of this program is to strengthen the Amygdala by reducing stress caused by incarceration, which actually causes the Amygdala to shut down some. The goal is increase the empathy of the criminal so that when they are released, there is a lower chance of them committing another crime and a higher chance of becoming a normal person within society.

I think it’s fantastic idea, a rehab program for criminals. I also think that it could be extremely effective with people who have depression and anxiety!

Do you think a rehab program for criminals would be effective? Do you think it would make a good program for those with depression and/or anxiety? What thoughts do you have about the Amygdala and other parts of the brain? How do you feel about neuroscience?

Check out the Ted video here

For more on neuroscience visit Society for Neuroscience.



6 thoughts on “Amygdala|Neuroscience topic|AtoZ Day 1

  1. That is an interesting subject. For the most part, I am one of those who don’t believe many criminals are able to be rehabilitated. At the same time, I’m open to the idea that if there IS a way to rehabilitate, it’s worth a try. As someone who takes antidepressants to treat depression and anxiety, I’d welcome a therapy that would enable me to go off medication. Great post!


  2. For some people whose brains don’t work normally, there can be no rehab – only behavioural adjustment. And even then, it’s not very effective, because the subject still needs to want to improve.
    Nice post. 🙂


  3. Indeed – mountains of research facilitated by the use of brain imagining technologies such as fMRI shows that criminals generally experience abnormal activation (be it under or over activation) in the amygdala when responding to particular triggers – Also, being the -amygdal- center of processing emotions and responses to triggers, any structural and/or abnormality in activation causes variable – sometimes unwanted- responses in the form of violent aggressive behavior.

    I recommend reading the Anatomy of Violence by Adrian Raine, The Wisdom of Psychopaths by Kevin Dutton and The Psychopath Within by James Fallon.


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