A German neuroscientist is courting disaster, based on a study he recently released in which he announces that he has identified the region of the brain that is responsible for evil. The guy, Dr. Gerhard Roth, says he showed pictures of violent scenes to convicted violent criminals and in most cases the same region of their brains failed to light up, suggesting to Roth that it is this region where empathy resides. Apparently to Roth, this sluggishness of the empathetic region (which another researcher contests is a cognitive experience that is far too complex to only include one region of the brain) among criminals and the attendant violence it produces, can be solved by simply removing the region. Which would mean that Dr. Roth is saying evil is very much like a physical cancer that can be removed. Which is probably not true.
What is most disturbing is that the Fox News article this is based on (found via Fortean Times), implies that Dr. Roth proved his theory by removing this dark region from the brains of convicted criminals. If you haven’t heard our podcast on lobotomies before, go check it out – the idea of a scientist promoting crime reduction by removing parts of the brains of criminals will be even more chilling.
Here’s the article from Fox News.