Originally posted on TED Blog:

 

Daniel Reisel is here to talk about our brains. In particular, how we might change them–and how this kind of thinking might just change the tenor of society as a whole.

He introduces us to Joe, who’s 32, and a murderer. Reisel met Joe in Wormwood Scrubs, a high-security prison that houses England’s most dangerous prisoners. On a grant from the UK Department of Health, Reisel visited the jail to study inmates’ brains and try to find out what lay at the root of their behavior. “Was there a neurological cause for their condition?” he asks. “And if there was a neurological cause, could we find a cure?”

Initial research showed that psychopaths like Joe indeed had a different physiological response to emotions such as distress or sadness. “They failed to show the emotions required; they failed to show the physical response. It was as though they knew the words but…

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