Jul 23, 2019
Examining brain scans of more than 800 incarcerated men, new research co-authored by a leading University of Chicago neuroscientist found that individuals who had committed or attempted homicide had reduced gray matter when compared to those involved in other offenses. Those reductions were especially apparent in regions of the brain associated with emotional processing, behavioral control and social cognition.
“More gray matter means more cells, neurons and glia,” said Jean Decety, the Irving B. Harris Distinguished Service Professor in Psychology and Psychiatry at UChicago, noting differences in the orbitofrontal cortex and anterior temporal lobes of the brain. “That’s what you need to make computations, to process information—whether it’s emotional information that you use to feel empathy for someone else, or information that you use to control your behavior, to suppress your tendencies to react.”