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Friday, November 07, 2008

Bullies Get Pleasure From Pain

Brain Scans Show Joy When People Hurt
POSTED: November 7, 2008

Brain scans show that aggressive young people get pleasure when they see others in pain, University of Chicago researchers say.

The images showed that brain areas associated with rewards were highlighted when people thought of as bullies watched a video clip of someone inflicting pain on another person. Other young people did not have that response.

Researcher Jean Decety said the results will help people work with violent teens.

The study compared eight 16- to 18-year-old boys with aggressive conduct disorder to a group of adolescent boys with no unusual signs of aggression. The boys with the conduct disorder had started fights, used a weapon or stolen directly from someone.

The vides they watched showed accidents as well as one person stepping on another's foot.
The aggressive teens showed activity in pleasure centers of the brain when someone was intentionally hurt and a lack of activity in an area that is thought to regulate self-control.

The work appears in the current issue of the journal Biological Psychology.

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