In this (incredibly late) podcast Ryan and Joel discuss some of the spookier bits of neuroscience. Prior to the start of the main cast, Joel introduces their new plans for upcoming casts which include a focus on interviews and guest hosts.
Toward the end of the cast, Ryan mentions a book called “Better Never to Have Been.” Here’s a link to the book on Amazon in case you are curious about it and/or want to pick it up!
Phineas Gage (since we mentioned him) is an early confirmed example of a brain disturbance producing profound personality changes.
This man had pedophelic urges until a huge tumor was removed from his frontal lobe. When the tumor returned, so did the urges. A fascinating case study in brain disturbances producing dramatic changes in behavior.
The famous Houston sniper also had a brain tumor which might have influenced his behavior. His writings certainly suggest that he found himself thinking disturbing thoughts in the period leading up to the shootings.
Capgras syndrome and other delusional syndromes may result in crimes motivated by bizarre reasons.
fMRI scans can predict recidivism rates, but whether the findings can be applied to individual persons remains unclear.
This guy has a ‘psychopathic brain’ but is not a psychopath. While brain scans can inform us of trends among large groups of people, predictive power can be lacking for individuals. We might ask if more traditional methods are any better–as Joel mentions in the podcast, the actuarial tables used to predict recidivism rates make broad recommendations based on average trends as well.
For an awesome documentary featuring legal professionals applying neurolaw to a fictional case, check out Brains on Trial