Wow, this is one of the most interesting and thought provoking articles I have read in a long time. If you say the story out loud to yourself it sounds made believe, like a crime novel. A neuroscientist is researching the brains of psychopaths and discovers that he has the brain of a psychopath. Indeed he is a psychopath. He is completely indifferent to the feelings of others, and his life history supports this. Oh, and then there are his brain scan and DNA too. But he is learning to deal with it. Also, he is not violent. Why? Researchers suspect that even people with these kinds of structural and genetic dispositions, when they are raised through childhood and puberty in a loving and supportive environment they may still be weird or difficult but they won’t become violent.
His own experience also caused him to reevaluate the idea that genetics and biology are absolutely determinative of future behavior. In his own case there is data to show that environment works together with biology. And this has lead him to reevaluate the data.
His conclusion about the age of soldiers sent to war is also worth pondering:
“It means, for example, that if you have to go to war, and sometimes you probably have to go to war… you do not send 18-year-olds into it, because their brains aren’t set. They don’t know how to adjudicate what’s happening emotionally and hormonally with the intellectualization of it. When you’re 20, 25, it’s a different matter because things gel a little more. Our emotions don’t get away from us as much in terms of what is happening. Other factors, sociological ones like what soldiers return to, are also important, but we’re not going to get rid of war any time soon, so we might as well engage in a way that does the least amount of damage.”