human brain

Scientists have found the ‘root of all evil’ which triggers a person to engage in certain unacceptable behaviours, and you wouldn’t believe where it was found.

Researchers from New York University wanted to find out if bad intentions could be seen forming in the brain before any violence or aggression took place. They found that a distinct part of the hypothalamus – the brain region that controls body temperature, hunger and sleep – is activated shortly before an attack.

The part of the brain that switches on before aggressive behaviour is known anatomically as the ventro-lateral part of the ventromedial hypothalamus, or VMHvl, because of its central location inside the brain on the underside of the hypothalamus.

The researchers say it may be possible to spot early warning signs of premeditated violence, stalking, bullying and even sexual aggression, and prevent it occurring for good.

“Our study pinpoints the brain circuits essential to the aggressive motivations that build up as animals prepare to attack,” said study senior investigator Dayu Lin, of the Neuroscience Institute at NYU Langone.
Researchers say the finding could lead to drugs that help people control violent behaviour, without the need for restraints or sedation. It might even be possible to monitor brain activity continually and alert health experts or the security services before an aggressive attack.

To conduct the study, male mice were trained to attack weaker males and then monitored to see how aggressively they tried to gain access to, and bully, another mouse. One measure used to gauge aggression was counting the number of attempts made by mice to wiggle through small holes that led to another mouse, which they could then attack.

The researchers found nerve cell activity in the VMHvl routinely peaked just before mice began to poke through the holes. Nerve cell activity in the VMHvl also increased up to tenfold during the initial seconds after the weaker target mice appeared.

The researchers say it is possible the region is linked to reward centres of the brain that make an attack seem more desirable and may promote a flow of endorphins.

The research was published in Nature Neuroscience.




  1. Kelvin Kusienya | March 16, 2016 at 7:30 am |

    I’ve to appreciate their effort but in reality they were experimenting on mice. Human beings are habitual animals so to speak and they way they respond to any form of disappointment or dissatisfaction varies considerably due to their high brain capacity compared to lower animals.
    Some of the violences we see everyday could be premeditated or from experience and is all related to the flight or fight reflexes in the autonomic nervous system.
    So, even though it might be tried in human beings, it’s success rate could be none to zero.
    Thank you

Comments are closed.