Neuroscientist Analyzes Own Brain
If finally happened.
Was this research part of the swelling wave of knowledge?
The criminal brain has always held a fascination for James Fallon. For nearly 20 years, the neuroscientist at the University of California-Irvine has studied the brains of psychopaths. He studies the biological basis for behavior, and one of his specialties is to try to figure out how a killer's brain differs from yours and mine.
"Here is a brain that's not normal," he says. There are patches of yellow and red. Then he points to another section of the brain, in the front part of the brain, just behind the eyes.
"Look at that — there's almost nothing here," Fallon says.
This is the orbital cortex, the area that Fallon and other scientists believe is involved with ethical behavior, moral decision-making and impulse control.
"People with low activity [in the orbital cortex] are either free-wheeling types or sociopaths," he says.
"And I took a look at my own PET scan and saw something disturbing that I did not talk about," he says.
What he didn't want to reveal was that his orbital cortex looks inactive.
"If you look at the PET scan, I look just like one of those killers."
Of course, Philip K. Dick already covered this.
Addendum: I just remembered I'd covered a similar phenomenon already.