Science shows part of brain having an important role in violence

Science shows part of brain having an important role in violence
Figure showing the ventrolateral part (presented in green) of the ventromedial hypothalamus (circled area) in the brain of a mouse, where aggressive motivations build up suddenly before acts of violence and bullying.
(Credit: Images courtesy of Nature Neuroscience)

Main Point:

Violence and aggression is found to be related to a component of hypothalamus in the brain.

Published in:

Nature Neuroscience

Study Further:

In a number of experiments performed by researchers at New York University, researchers found that premeditated violence – bullying, stalking, and possibly sexual aggression – in mice model (and probably in human beings) develops in a particular area of the brain known as the ventrolateral part of the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMHvl). Hypothalamus is the same part of the brain that is involved in sleep, body temperature, and hunger in mammals.

“VMHvl can mediate both acute attack and flexible seeking actions that precede attack,” researchers noted in the study.

Researchers found that the nerve cell activity in the VMHvl could be increased by as much as ten times during the initial seconds of the violent activity.

This new study was an ongoing effort of the researchers in better understanding of aggressive motivation, along with associated brain biomarkers as well as biochemical pathways.

Researchers are of opinion that the potential clinical implications of the study are widespread, and it can help in developing better control of the aggressive or violent behaviors without the need for sedation. However, they noted that further studies are required in this regard, and they are planning to work on particular nerve  cells and circuits in VMHvl that are probably involved in motivating as well as carrying out aggression.

So, now we have to develop such machines that can check this area on airport and other such places in order to grab terrorists.

Source:

Falkner, A., Grosenick, L., Davidson, T., Deisseroth, K., & Lin, D. (2016). Hypothalamic control of male aggression-seeking behavior Nature Neuroscience DOI: 10.1038/nn.4264

Usman Zafar Paracha

Usman Zafar Paracha is Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutics, in Hajvery University, Lahore, Pakistan.

  • Stephanie

    This article is an interesting perspective on the relationship between the hypothalamus and aggression. It makes sense that a part of the hypothalamus can cause violent behavior, because the hypothalamus affect a person’s emotions and what drives them. It also releases hormones in the body, which can cause a person to act out if they can’t handle the rush of hormones. If they is a defect or damage to the hypothalamus, then it could cause a person to act out aggressively and commit crimes. This could explain some unexplained behaviors of criminals.