According to reports, the study examined brain tomography scans of more than 800 prisoners and found fewer gray matter in the brains of murderers or attempted murderers than other criminals. It is reported that the reduction of gray matter is related to emotional management, behavioral control and cognition.
Shang Deserti, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at Chicago University, said that more gray matter meant more cells, neurons and glia in the brain, which involved computational and information processing abilities, as well as the ability to empathize and control behavior and inhibit responses.
As a pioneer scholar of moral reasoning and social decision-making cognitive neuroscience, Desertis research focuses on mental illness and childrens moral development. This innovative research is the result of his long-term collaboration with neuroscientist Gill of the University of New Mexico.
Gill said the survey collected data from eight prisons in New Mexico and Wisconsin for more than 10 years, and the number of samples and conclusions were unparalleled in the world.
The study was published in Brain Imaging and Behavior, a journal of brain science. The participants were all male and divided into three groups: 203 convicted or committed homicide or attempted homicide; 475 convicted of violent felonies such as assault, assault, armed robbery; and 130 non-violent or mild violent criminals. It is reported that although previous brain imaging studies have also investigated murderers, this study excludes people with brain damage or schizophrenia.
However, the study did not establish a causal relationship between reduced gray matter in the brain and homicide, the report said. Gill and Deserti are still tracking high-risk male samples to predict the association between changes in gray matter and future homicides.