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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  March 6, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PST

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>> rose: welcome to the programment tonight a special edition the charlie rose brain series year three. in episode one we focused on aggression and the brain. >> wherever you go when you pick up a newspaper when you listen to your programs you see one episode or another of extraordinary aggression. shootings in the school sexual assault in the military and in religious orders. genocide and terrorism in the islamic state of iraq and syria. outburst of anti-semitism all over europe. denmark 7,000 jewish protected, almost every individual during the second world war, now has anti-semitic outbreaks. shooting of a guard in front of a synagogue. the list goes on. when you look at the whole picture not only nationally but internationally you see this is one of the most important problems facing us all. and president obama appreciated this when he called for an international
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summit to see how we can handle it. so this program could not be better timed. because as you pointed out we're going to discuss what we know about the biology or aggression so we pite actually be helpful to society in this way. >> rose: the charlie rose brain series three is underwritten by the alfred p shown foundation episode one coming up now. >> funding for charlie rose is provided by the following: >> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by: >> rose: additional funding provided by: >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york
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city, this is charlie rose. tonight we continue our ongoing exploration of the remarkable human brant with our third brain series. our focus will be on brain science and society. each program will cover a critical social issue with an examination of its neurobiological basis its developmental process and its broader social logical affects. for tonight's inaugural episode of our third series we consider aggression and the social amplification of violence. >> we live in aning aresive world. we are routinely confronted with if you incidents of horrific violence including murder war and genocide. but aggression is a natural instinct in all of us. it helps us adapt to our surroundings and can protect us from threats to our society. problems arise however when aggression is taken it far and becomes violent. neuroscientists are working to identify the brain regions. neurotransmitters and genes that producing aresive
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impulses. psychologists seek to understand the influence of environmental factors that can prompt aggressions escalation. a remarkable group of scientists dedicated to unraveling the mysteries of aggression are here. they are david anderson of the california institute of technology. richard tremblay of the unit of montreal johanna ray vollhardt of clark university and emil coccaro of the unit of chicago. joining us also is adrian raine of the university of pennsylvania and once again my co-host dr. eric kandel. he is a nobel laureate a professor at columbia university and a howard hughes medical investigator. i'm pleased to have all of them here. welcome. >> thank you. >> back for another season. >> wonderful to have another series. this is our third series. if we could put this in perspective. in the first series we dealt with the normal brain. we considered perception action learning and memory. in the second series you and
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i discussed brain abnormallities and we considered skrits friendia depression parkinson's disease an alzheimer disease. now we are turning to the third series brain science in society. here we's going to consider a number of social issues, gender identity sports-induced brain concussions brain science and the criminal justice system. today in the first program we're going to consider brain science and aggression and the social amplification of violence. when you and i talked about this series and this particular topic aggression we knew this was an important topic in front of us. and we knew it's been with us since the beginning of humankind. cane killing abel, the beginning of genesis, you can't get earlier than that. and yet at least it was not obvious to me six months ago that today this would be an even more important topic. that wherever you go when you pick up a newspaper
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when you listen to your programs you see one episode or another of extraordinary aggression. shootings in the school sexual assault in the military and in religious orders. genocide and terrorism in the islamic state of iraq and syria. outbursts of anti-semitism all over europe. denmark 7,000 jewish protected almost every individual during the second world war now has anti-semitic outbreaks. shooting of a guard in front of a sino going. the list goes on. -- synagogue. the list goes on. when you look at the whole picture, not only nationally but internationally you see this is one of the most important problems facing us all. and president obama appreciated this when he called for an international summit to see how we can handle it. so this program could not be better timed. because as you pointed out we're going to discuss what we know about the biology of aggression. so we might actually be helpful to society in this way. we're going to consider a
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number of issues that relate to aggression in an important way. we begin by considering the biology of aggression and how biology of aggression often focuses on sexuality. we're going to consider the development of aggression. how kids you know first start to being aresive. we're going to learn how victims' response to aggression, which is not necessarily the uniform response. and fascinatingly how aggression gets amp find. how people-- amplified. how people who are bystanders get recruited and often enthusiastically involved in aggression. we're going to people about aggression in people and their various kinds. there's, you know impulsive aggression and there's meditated aggression. they're quite different and we're going to hear about them. now in all of these discussions we're going to come back and forth to certain brain regions. and four regions are particularly important. the prefrontal cortex the
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migdalun and hyperthal ma on the. prefrontal cortex is involved in decision-making and very much character formation. and the defects also can lead to an increase in aggression. the vent ral stridum is involved in reinforcement. it is recruited for addiction and also certain kinds of aggression. the amigdyala is the orchestrater of emotion positive and negative and influences the hypeor thal mum. the hypothal mum has many functions but we'll focus in particular its role in aggression and in sexuality. so we have for this program as you pointed out five fantastic people. we have david anderson whom i've known for a long time. he has pioneered the study of aggression and its relationship to sexuality. we have richard tremblay who is interested in the
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development of aggression. we have johanna vollhardt who spent her career studying how victims respond to aggression, we have emil koch ora who is a psychiatrist like myself but competent interested in psychiatric illnesses that carry with them the additional burden. then adrian-- adrian raines who is interested in premeditateed aggression which is really a different entity so we have not only an extremely important topic perhaps the most important topic confronting all of us today but we couldn't have a better group of people discussing it. so we're in for fantastic. >> rose: let's begin with david anderson in understanding the biology of aggression. >> so charlie, we're basic neuroscientists in my lab. and we want to understand some of the most fundamental questions about aggression. how is aggression which is an evolutionaryly an shent behavior you see if throughout the animal king dom, how is it hard wired into the brain. where is aggression in the brain.
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and we've studied this problem in flies and in mice. and we're particularly interested in the relationship between the parts of the brain that control aggression and those that control mating or sexual behavior. because as you know mating and aggression are closely related behaviors. and in nature you often find that periods of aggression are at their highest when animals are mating. and these behavior he reinforce each other. but at the same time they're mutually exclusive. so a male will direct mating towards a female of the species aggression towards another male. so there's kind of a paradox. how can these behaviors be mutually exclusive but also reinforce each other in some way. so we have begun by trying to pinpoint the neuron nass controlling aresive behavior. and we've started by looking in a very evolutionarily ancient region of the brain which eric brought up called the hypothalamus. so we began by trying to measure the electrical activity of cells that were
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active during aggression or mating in a tiny region of the hypothalamus. and we found something quite surprising. and that is within this very small region of the brain we found a mixture of neurons, some of which were active, turned on when the animals were fighting this is done in males. some of which were turned on when the animals were waiting with a female and interestingly some of these neurons were active during both fighting and mating about 25% of them overlapped. so that was a very interesting observation. it was a corelation and we really wanted to understand the function of these neurons. so we began by using very modern techniques now called opth-- opti genetics to activate and ininhibit these neurons. we can pinpoint this activation with a high level of accuracy directly to specific cells in the brain that are active during aggression and turn them on and turn them off with a
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time resolution of milliseconds. so i'm going to show you a video of what happens it to a male mouse when you activate these aggression neurons in the brain. and i should say before we show the video some of your viewers might find the image a bit disturbing but what we are doing doesn't hurt the mouse. and these are all protocols that have been approved by our institutional animal use and care committee and and are nih approved. so you're going to see the mouse in a cage with an inanimate object. when the light comes on we're stimulating these aggression neurons in the mouse. so we can actually trigger the mouse-- to attack a rubber glove. of course if there were another mouse there, he would attack the other mouse as well so we then wanted to ask, are these neurons actually necessary for normal aggression. and so mice will normally fight with each other, for example if you introduce an intruder mouse into the cage where a male mouse lives very shortly there after
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the resident mouse will attack the intruder. he doesn't like somebody impinging on his territory. so we ask if we shut these neurons off, can we actually system a fight dead in its tracks. and as the next video will show you it's possible to do that. so now these mice are fighting naturally. when the light comes on we inhibit these neurons and suddenly the fight stops. i will show you that again in slow motion. so you can see the mice are fighting and suddenly the light comes on, boom we stopped the attack dead in its tracks. >> rose: i don't understand how the neurons know to respond to light. >> so the way that we do this is we genetically implant in these neurons deep in the brain a protein that comes from a light -sensitive algae. and that protein makes an ion channel through the membrane of the neuron that turns the neuron on only when light activates that channel. so we can con vert these
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neurons into light-sensitive neurons. so that shows us that knees neurons are necessary and sufficient for aggression. >> different kinds of challenges, you can insert those that activate the neurons and those that shut it off. and can do either. >> so we discovered as we were manipulating the conditions for turning these neurons on, something very surprising. and that is that you needed high intensity stimulation to activate aggression but low intensive stimulation would pro mount mounting behavior. so the mouse would try to mate with whatever other mouse was in the cage with low intense-- intensity stimulation whether a male mouse or female mouse it would try to mount. we could switch the behavior of the same animal from attempted mounting to a mixture of mounting and attack to attack just by increasing the intensity of light. so that tells us that in this tiny region of the brain, there is a mixture of neurons that will controlling both the mating
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instinct and the fighting instinct. and perhaps that will account or may account for the tension between thistic drive and thing ares-- the sex drive anding aresive drive. >> it is extraordinary. if also sort of explains why aggression can lead to sexual aggression. it really is an amazing set of findings. >> rose: let me turn to richard. some sense of how children become predisposed to violence. >> well we've been following thousands of children from birth until adulthood. and we've been trying to find at what time do children learn to aggress. what we've discovered is that children start very early in life to use physical aggression. they use physical aggression as soon as from a motor control they can hit kick and bite. >> rose: so they becoming
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aresive as soon as their brain learns to control their limbs, and so they can doing aresive things. >> they don't learn to becoming aresive, they are instinctivelying aresive. that is an amazing finding. >> it appears when we look at these videos that it's relatively minor aggression but for a small ones to hit it's a tough world. when you are one and a half two-year-old and the frequency of physical aggression increases tremendously from one year. >> rose: high velocity between one and three and four. >> the peak is around between three an four years of age. and then it decreases until adult hood. so humans are at their worst in terms of physical aggression when they're between two an four years of age. that's the worst time in terms of being victimized by your peers.
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however, there are important differences among children. there's a sex difference. girls learn much more quickly than boys not toing ares. -- to aggress. and this learning is partly related to the fact that the girls will use indirect aggression 678 when you don't like someone you get others not to play with them. so girls learn that much more quickly than boys. and there are differences among boys about 20% use aggression very rarely. four percent use physical aggression very frequently. we call them the chronicking aresers. and the chronicing aresive over time are the ones who during adolescence are the chronicallying aresive.
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>> that four percent. >> it's only four percent of males. so approximately -- if we-- if we think about what are the factors going on here what are the environmental and genetic factors that are going on what we have been able to observe by using twins so we use mono-- twins that have the same genetic endowment. and we use from ternlt -- fraternal twins that are similar, like brothers and sisters 50% of them they share 50% of their genes. what we see is that the identical twins are much more similar in terms of physical aggression than the fraternal twins.
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it is a good indication that there are important genetic differences. and it appears that it's about 50/ -- 50% in terms of explanation of frequency of physical aggression comes from genetic endowment 50% from environmental endowment. from the brain per -- perspective we've been looking at brain imaging serotonin synthesis in the prefrontal lobes. and what we observe is that the chronicallying aresive have problems in terms of serotonin synthesis. so these are the frontal lobes and there is serotonin
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synthesis deficits in chronicallying aresive children. so it appears that genetic and early environmental factors are involved in our ability to control our physical aggression. and this is related to brain -- >>. >> rose: so the long-term outcomes of children and from a chronic physical aggression. >> the children that are chronically physicallying aresive will fail in school will be rejected by their peers. they will use and abuse drugs during adolescence. juvenile delinquent wednesdayee criminality during adult hald and they also of course have problems
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integrating the workforce and tend to be poor. and they tend to become parents who will having aresive children because they create an environment that where you cannot learn to-- to control your aggression. >> rose: can we help them? >> yes we have shown with the randomized control trial that if we do intensive intervention preventive interventions withing aresive children in kindergarten we can see that in the long run they have less problems in school. they finish high school. they have less problems with drugs. and alcohol during address lens and less criminality in
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adult hoord. >> rose: and things like day care can reduce the risk. >> yes, day care for children whose parents have low education reduces the risk of chronic physical aggression later on. >> what i find interesting about this is that these kids are not being treated with drugs. they're treated with social interventions, really a form of group psycho therapy. and it shows again how in certain instances psycho therapeutic intervention can be extremely beneficial. it's really a wonderful example. because what you are preventing here is one of the most horrible syndromes one can confront early in life. i mean everything that one does is bad if one has those problems. >> rose: if we look at the mosting aresive people on the planet, could we take them back to childhood and find some evidence of the kinds of things we're talking about? >> well it depends on what type of aggression. in the sense that since we've all beening aresive
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early on and we've learned not to aggress from our environment it's a-- this learning not to aggress. those who are mosting aresive early on are most likely to have aggression problems later on. but we have all beening aresive early on. and the environment later on is an important determinant so it is easy to see why some adults who appear to have absolutely fro problem suldly they will have aning aresive -- >> we will discuss this later but the social amplification of aggressioning people sitting around, not being participants in the aggression can easily be recruit approximated into it for various reasons. and this really is a important factor in doing that. it's very fragile safety net we have.
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>> rose: we go now to the response of the victims. and johanna ray vollhardt help us understand how this is perceived from the part of a victim. >> uh-huh. generally there are two different kinds of responses to trauma that are quite distinct. positive response and the negative responses. and the negative response to trauma that was induced by violence, for example is essentially a cycle of violence. where we see on an individual level, for example children who are abused during their childhood are at a higher risk of becoming abusive themselves later in life. on the societal or intergroup level we similarly see that groups that have experienced depression and violence-- aggression and violence also develop a mentality of revenge or wanting to defend themselves from future violence so a cycle of violence occurs there as well. however, that is only one possible response to trauma. there is also a more positive response where which we can basically describe as post traumatic growth.
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where some individuals resilient individuals can also go through positive changes after they experience trauma through the experience of trauma. one of these positive changes can be, for example what we all altruism born of suffering. the idea that you want to prevent others from suffering in similar ways as you, yourself or your group has in the past. so for example people who have experienced traumatic events in the past in studies were mohr likely to wamd to help studies on police officers mental health professionals who themselves have had adverse spernlsess traumatic experiences in the past of the kijd they are assisting others with now in their professions are shown to thrive more in their work be more engaged with this work. and this has been described as a survivor mission there are many examples of cases where survivors of violence
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want to do something to change the cycles of violence. we see this also among survivors of genocide who have the idea that we need to prevent genocide from happening ever again to anyone else. so we see examples of holocaust survivors who are active to stop the genocide in darfur or in earlier decades in anti-war protests. and interestingly this also occurs transgen rationally so it is not just direct survivors who show this kind of response, but it can also be members of the social group who identify with their groups' collective experience of victimization and also become particularly motivated to prevent violence in the present. >> rose: so you are suggesting the dichb ways of responding, of coping with trauma. >> exactly. these are two twit distinct ways of coping with trauma but what they have in common and what works in terms of the coping mechanism is that
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both basically restore a sense of agency a sense of control that was lost through the traumatic experience of violence. human beings have the need to restore in shattered sense of agency and control. and one way to do this is to show aggression and dominate others. the other way to do this is to help others and to prevent similar instances-- instances of violence from occurring. so both have that kind of positive affect. >> actually it's a very interesting example. in the jewish community w holocaust survivor elie weizel who has really done two remarkable things. one is very important in setting up the holocaust memorial in washington. so one can really know exactly what happened. but also is the number of genocide situations in order to protect the people who are being attacked even if it had nothing to do with his own initial experience so, very much like you say. >> uh-huh, exactly. and this response to social
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coping mechanism response to trauma also gives survivors a sense of meaning that is also lost through the traumatic experience of violence. so helping others preventing violence from occurring to others can also restore a sense of meaning and the idea that i have not suffered in vein if i can contribute to preventing violence in the future. and we know from work by the psychiatrist and holocaust survivor victor frankel who survived auschwitz that this sense of meaning and maintaining a sense of meaning is essential for coping with traumatic experience. >> rose: do we understand the factors that make someone more likely to want to be you know, to be altruistic? to want to help. >> as opposed to violent. >> rose: yeah, someone who is a victim of genocide, do we understand why and what are the factors that make one more likely to want to do that than another? >> uh-huh so we do not yet
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understand why, what leads to the pro social path versus the violent path after violence. presumably resilience plays a large role and also exposure to pro social role models in that situation or social support. but aside from that, one of the mechanisms that i have been studying is this idea that if you you recognize the fact that your experiences of trauma and victimization are similar to what others are experiencing or have experienced or will experience in the future that sense of similarity with other groups' victimization what i call inclusive victim consciousness can contribute to the more pro social path. when people think their experiences are unique and distinct, that no one else has suffered in this way on a group level or as an individual, that makes the violence or destructive response more likely because of the need to defend-- defend and protect one's self. >> rose: let's talk about how this is related to
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mental illness. >> so a lot of people think aggression is more prevalent in people with mental illness. and the fact is that mental illness on its own does not increase the rate of aggression. it's more likely to occur in individuals with substance abuse, independence, and other factors especially prior history of aggression. so every one gets very concerned when mass shootings happen and those sort of things, this person must be mentally psychotic mentally unfit. and those are very individual situations you look across large epidemiological studies, it just doesn't pan out. now there are multiple forms of aggression. there are is socially sanctioned aggression such as fighting in war mentally shall where a mental be can makes one more irritable and aggression but the big ones are impulse aggression and premeditated aggression. and impulsive aggression is an aggression that is not exactly spontaneous so what happens is people get a-- perceive a threat or
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frustration and their threshold to blowup is just very low so they will just blow up and experience or display a temper tantrum or physical aggression. premeditative aggression which can happen in anybody is already thought through. and they planned it out. the people who do that are more likely to be psychopaths although not only psycho paths. and the number of psychopaths may be 1 percent of the population. the people have explosive disorder which is the disorder of impulsive aggression is more like three to five or six percent so that is much more the case. as far as that is concerned. and those important distinctions to put forth because we have an idea how to treat impulsive aggression. we're not quite sure how to treat premeditated aggression and anger. i'll say something more about that. >> rose: so what do we see at the neurobiological level. >> what we see in people with aggression is very similar to what we are hearing at this table. so dr. tremblay talked about
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four percent of boys being chronicallying aresive. that is about how many-- you have out there about four to five percent but we see the same thing biologically we see problems with serotonin function where usually serotonin function is diminished. we see evidence of heightened other neurotransmitters that will facilitate aggression. in terms of systems, we see problems in the frontal area of the brain, problems in the amygdala and certain other aspects of that. when we present to these individuals pictures of individuals with who are angry or threatening the amygdala will over act to that stimulus compared to healthy volunteers. and that also correlates with howing aresive these people have been over the course of their lives. now an important thing going along with this is serotonin and amygdala really have to do with sort of the tendency to being aresive but what makes youing aresive in the here and now has to do with how you interpret social segments. so people that aring aresive,
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it may well be that they have been aggress as a child tend to have problems with social procession. they don't take in enough information about what is going on am and they make a hostile inference as to what the other person is doing. so you can have a situation where your threshold may be high or low. and where you are coming into the day, is that you're primed to think that somebody brushing up against you or looking at you funny is threatening to you or frustrating to you. and you have an year active amygdala, a certificate tony system in the frontal lobe not working so well the brakes are bad you have high accelerator brakes are bad you're going have a crash. >> it's interesting, when charlie and i did a program on depression, one of the key things that emerged, of course, is the treatment of depression often is designed to increase the level of certificate tony. is there an increase-- of serotonin, is there an increased incident in aggression with people that are depressed and low levels of certificate ton even? >> interestinglyly not
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necessarily. we saw this problem in individuals who didn't have a primary mood disorder. and what we think is going on is that their brain systems involved in activation are not working well. and they will make a suicide attempt when they are severely depressed because that is the arouseal that is going on. i feel terrible, i want to end my life. the low serotonin then is bad brakes and turn it against themselves rather than someone else. >> rose: adrian, let me talk about you about individuals who cannot control their impulses. >> yes emil has been talking about people in a hospital context. what we do is work with people really at the street level people who are violent psychopaths even killers. >> can i ask what does psychopath mean. >> it's an individual who lacks conscious lacks remorse, lacks guilt and because of that lack of normal emotional feelings there is no barriers so they do outrage us things and the stimulation seekers they are impulsive. >> there are two parts the
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cold calculating callous type which is really the core of it. and then you have the anti-social lifestyle which is, you know doing horrible things to other people. we have been studying their brains using brain imaging to look to see what part of the brain may not be working right or what part of the brain may be physically different even. what we find in normal people, of course s that their prefrontal cortex is working well, as you see there, in the green. if we can have the next slide this is where we brain scan murderers and what we see here are murderers who are impulsive they don't plan their murders. they are very hot-blooded in terms of their homicide. and what we see there on the left is poorer functioning in that very frontal region of the brain. so why is it that that part of the brain can predispose to aggression? it's the part of the brain that's involved in checking on impulsive behavior. we all get angry at times
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don't we. what stops us lashing out? we have a good frontal cortex that's working well to regulates-- regulate and control ouring aresive behavior. so those are hot blooded murderers. but what about the cold blooded murderers. when we brain scan them low and behold they have pretty good frontal functioning. which in a way makes sense because these are killers who premeditate their homicide. they are planning ahead so they've got the wherewithal to do that. so the interesting question becomes so what is it then that's producing them to be violent in a predatory fashion. so let's turn to the next slide where we'll look at another brain region. and this is the amygdala. on the left qu see where it's located in the brain. what we find when we study cold blooded offenders psychopaths they have a shrinkage a physical shrinkage in the the amygdala it is reduced in sight by 80% and on the
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right you can see the areas with the amygdala colored in blue that are actually physically deformed. now the amygdala is very important in generating emotions as is concerned to begin with. if there is a shrinkage in the the amygdala that will reduce fear. what stops a lot of us breaking the laws of the land, when we're frightened about the punishments that we would get when we're caught. but if you look that fear if you have this impairment to the amygdala that normally produces this anticipatory fear that stops those committing crime, well you are more likely to commit offenses in a cold -blooded fashion. there is more to it than that however. there's yet another brain region called the ven tral striartum. on the left you can see where it's located in the brain. in the right you can see that there's greater activity in psychopaths when they are anticipating reward
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so we have the idea that psychopaths are reward-driven. they want the goods. just like an addiction. >> rose: so there is a stimulation to the brain? >> the idea is in anticipating rewards the part of the brain that gets hooked on rewards is firing up a lot more. maybe that's why psychopaths are more likely to pursue rewards and gains that they want. they've got the drive to do that and they don't have the emotional amygdala to hold them back in a way to give them that anticipatory fear that would normally result. >> this is a spec tag lar series of findings we are discussing here charlie. because when i was a medical student, none of these imaging techniques were available. and you had very little insight of what was going on and delivering-- we now have insights into the biological substratum of different kinds ofing aresive syndromes. that's remarkable. we can see this is just the beginning, how much we've already learned different
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categories impulsive versus premeditated. different categories. >> even affecting the size of the amygdala. so therefore the question is because of your reference to imaging, you can look at imaging and decide who is most likely to be aggressively violent? >> it's a great question. and we are beginning to get some clues about who may be more likely to be violent in the future. so for example my colleagues brain scanned just males in the community. those individuals with a smaller volume to the amygdala were more cold blooded so to speak they were four times more likely to commit a violent act in the next three years. and that's prediction over and above prior history of violence prior history of psycopathy. we are beginning to get added value using brain imaging it to try and understand who are at risk for becoming the next generation of future
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offenders. >> are we seeing this kind of research used in trial, in criminal trials. >> the key question here isn't if a psychopath is-- i mean first of all i means what's causing that amygdala shrinkage. it could be genetic it could be how the brain develops. but we also know that trauma reduces the sign of the amygdala in children. neglect reduce the size of the amygdala. for whatever reason, i don't think psychopaths have to be born with an amygdala that is three sizes too small. if that brain impairment predisposes them, raises the odds of them doing the terrible things they do the fascinating question is, do what extent do we hold them fully responsible for that action. >> we are going return to this. we're going to have a program on this. this is not dna evidence this is not like saying i'm responsible, david is not. definitively here this is a
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problemmistic statement. and that is imperfect in front of the law. >> absolutely. >> so i think as techniques get better and we see that not only the amygdala the amygdala associated with this abnormallality, that means danger associated with another abnormallality it's unwe lated then we'll be in a better position. >> rose: are there places in cases where it's not just within an individual but their violence becomes in some way contagious within a society or within a group? so when we look at cases of genocide or mass atrocities happening in society we can see that this often happens in the context, and this might be a little different from what we were talking about so far on the individual level because actually on the societal level many of the processes that we see are so-called normal processes that amplify violence. genocide and mass atrocities often occur in the context of drastic societal transitions where there has been, for example war
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sudden economic deterioration other factors that leads people to experience a loss of control and safety, and human beings want to restore this need for safety or want to satisfy this need for safety and control under such circumstances. and one way of doing that is to find a scapegoat to scape goat another group and to say that if we get rid of this group or if we restrict the rights of this group then this will, this not only explains our problems that we are facing right now in society but it will also solve the problem. so scapegoating is a common root cause of this violence. and there are several examples of this when we look at genocide, for example, prior to the holocaust, germany had lost the first world war. had to pay reparations which contributed to the large economic crisis and
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hyperinflation unemployment and so on. in this context where people were experiencing sudden drastic transitions and extreme poverty hitler and nazis basically blamed the jews for what was happening. which many people bought as the simple solution to the problem. so that contributeed to the cycle. >> i was one of the jews involved in this charlie. i was view inn jeana 1938 when hitler marched in. the next day i met one of my classmates. he said kandel, i'm never to speak to you again. my parents told me to absolutely cut you out of my life. you could see that people one day the next day, you ask yourself why. and there are many reasons that contribute to this. one is in the medical school within three days they fired 50% of the faculty because they were jewish. if are you an assistant professor who is not jewish you can move up so maybe anti-semitism is not so bad.
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others because their parents told them not to do this. others because they felt if they did not follow along they would be punished. because it was scary enough to do what the nazis told you. so there are many reasons for being pulled in. innocent people previously innocent people can be pulled in because of a number of circumstances. it's really quite amazing. >> rose: how long after that did you decide you had to get out of austria. >> my moth her the good sense to start planning immediately. i didn't succeed in getting out until a year and a half later. 14, 15. >> rose: your mother was aware and said we have to get out of here. >> yeah absolutely. >> rose: always i'm interested in in terms of where all of this is going. i mean what is-- where are we headed in terms of the kinds of things we're understanding abouting ares? are we headed to look if we understand it and perhaps the-- we can figure out wayless to reduce violence to lessen violence. if that is true what gets
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us there? >> i think what really would be a major change and i think obama is aware of that is to try to prevent the social amplification of violence to prevent the people who are being pulled along from joining that. and this feeling is that one of the reasons they go along is you know there are many parts of the world are not democratic enough. these people are not completely satisfied with their life so they're willing to join some other force that makes it more attractive so he feels you know spreading democracy to the world but one needs to look at that group and to study how one can affect these borderline people from become sucked into this. this is what icist's great affect is. it pulls people in that previously had no commitment to them at all. >> would you say that about isis? >> yes. >> explain that to me one more time. >> they pull people along. they show them move kbrooes all kinds of things in order to bring them into the fold. >> it is stunning to me stunning to me is that
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somehow they have romant sized violence. >> absolutely. >> rose: romant sized violence so that young people -- >> think this is a wonderful thing to be doing. it's shocking. >> rose: it is shocking. >> what i was going to say before that these destructive ideologies for us from the outside t is clear to us that these are destructive ideologies scapegoating, committing violence and so on. but from inside at the time t doesn't-- . >> rose: they are responding to the stimuli. >> so within the society where these ideologys are being promoted or within those who are following these ideologies they do not think this is a destructive violent ideology it often appears to be a constructive or a moral a positive. >> rose: because they have found some reason to believe that it is in furtherance of some greater good. >> exactly. and because it will help solve the problem it will get your group out of the difficulties it is facing out of the humiliation -- >> one of the reasons i'm so pleased we did this program
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now is because i think there is a significant investment on scholarship on this level can be extremely productive. that this is one of the directions where it clearly has to be being. >> one of the things we need to do is to reduce aggression in general. so if you have parents who aring aresive we need to treat them. because they are going to mistreat their children. and it's very clear from research that being aggressived upon as a child victimized increases aggression down the road. one of the mechanisms is problems with social information, so we really need more comprehensive approach. and then we have to be thinking about the different forms of aggression psychopaths that require a different approach. >> we need also to understand more about the biology of aggression. we have heard a lot about social factors. >> we are also speaking biology. >> but biology at the most basic and fundamental level. what you're hearing about the influence of jeans and environment on aggression this is something that we can study in the laboratory
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in animal models. we find genes that predispose aggression and fruit lines and those same genes have an effect on aggression in mice rats cats and there is even evidence from emil that people that self-report as being inceasing-- increasinglying aresive show higher levels of these hormones in their system. and these are compounds to which drugs could be developed. >> so therefore are they mighten-- heightened emphasis for developing drugs on this. >> no. >> why not, the problem is if you have drugs that may reduce aggression, you have to have a clinical trial. well if people get moring aresive during the trial because they are on pass ebbo for whatever reason a that is a legal liability. >> they ought to be a problem we can solve theoretically. you have a problem with the nih not wanting to fund this kind of work.
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o this has been a liss tore call problem. >> in one of the -- done done the nhi note not want to funding arelation research be the level they fund fear and anxiety. >> because? >> because it is as you have heard it's a socially politically charged issue. >> because? because i think there is concern that if we learn more about the biological basis of aggression that information might be misused to stigmatize people identify them as having a predisposition to violence. and the fact is that science has been misused in many areas. the nazis misused genetics terably in their persecution of the jew and other groups but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't learn more about the fundamental biology of aggression. >> should we make the case here that you know, we should be doing this research t is significant to do this research because it will accomplish what result?
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>> it will accomplish a deeper understanding of the basic biology that may lead to the development of drugs that could help individuals, that might have a predisposition to violence it will help tell us what not to do to violent individuals. for example in flies and in mice social isolation causes an extreme increase in violent behavior. what do we do with violent criminals in jail? we put them in solitary confinement. it's exactly the opposite of what we should be doing. >> there is another thing. i think psycho therapeutic approaches not necessarily analytically base kodd be very very helpful. helping parents who have been aggressed upon themselves, control themselve and raise their children in a more benign fashion. that would be very easy. >> one generation passing to another generation. >> yeah. >> you are thinking if bad brains cause bad we javier what are we going do about it. there are things.
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let's turn to the environment here. because biology is not destiny. we can change the environment to change the brain to change criminal behavior. >> we also change biology. >> absolutely. so one way you can change biology in itself. >> we had hell be mayberg here. >> even earlier than that go back to where-- was coming from early childhood. we did an enrichment of enhancing three year ol children giving better nutrition, more physical exercise and a cognitive stimulation for just two kear-- two years. two things happened. at age 11 the brains were more mature. then at age 23 there was a reduction in criminal behavior by 34%. ino enriched early environment can upregulate the brain and reduce criminal behaviour. >> is that what you mean by change the biology? >> partly. i also mean giving medications or doing psycho therapy. >> and the natural medication. >> i also think trying to
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find out how we can constrain the social amplification of violence, how we can take neutral bystanders and encourage them not to join. >> yeah. >> but i think you're going to get a television call from washington tomorrow. they're going to want to you help them this is the kind of thinking they need. >> another area that this touches on that we haven't discussed enough is violence towards women. this is the -- >> we cannot believe this conversation is taking place. >> so sexual violence towards women is a serious problem that is associated with conflict situations for example the high level of rape in the war in eastern congo sexual a lawsuit-- assault in the military. there is a serious problem. and i think for example some of our studies might shed light on the reasons for this. the fact that circuitry for sexual behavior anding aresive behavior is so closely intermingled in the brain. and that if you have men that are engaging ining aresive behavior
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participating in a war military training this may build up an arouseal system for example through hormone changes that amps up the circuit trie for violence and sexual behavior and that that can be released both through more violence towards other men and also through sexualing ares towards women so this is a dimension one sees this also in cases of domestic violence and spousal abuse. this is a huge issue that needs intervention deeper understanding of both the biology and the sociology. >> are we seeing that a lot of social violence sexual violence is biological? >> i think if there is an underlying biological drive which is, of course modulated by environment social factors substance abuse. but there is the substrate the biological substrate that links these drives together in a very tight way. >> but the big thing is violence against women is the issue of male privilege
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and humanization on women. in so many countries and even in the united states. >> there are societies and organizations that have recognized this. you know this terrible example of the comfort women that were used in world war ii by the japanese who realized intuitively that their soldiers needed a quote, unquote release from all of thing aresive instincts and drive that had been pent up during the war resulting in terrible abuse to these korean women. and so i think history has shown that this is a pervasive issue. and it's something that we have to come to grips with through all of these socialal medical and social logical that we have described her. >> so our agenda here is to make clear the case of how of understanding aggression. >> that aggression can be understood and studied at many different levels. and we can get insights into it that could be put to use.
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>> to reduce all the negative aspects of aggression. >> yes. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. >> it's really an eye opener for me. so what will we do next time? >> next time we're going to speak about gender. how gender determines differences in intellectual functioning. how difficulty with certain aspects of identification with female sexuality interferes with appropriate mothering on the parts of women so we're going to speak about the differences between men and women on a lot of levels including things that are unique to women. >> rose: there you go see you next time. thank you for joining us. >> for more about this program and earlier episodes visit us yen line at pbs.org and charlie rose.com.
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