Well, this explains everything

“CHICAGO (Reuters) – Brain scans of teens with a history of aggressive bullying behavior suggest that they may actually get pleasure out of seeing someone else in pain, U.S. researchers said on Friday.

“While this may come as little surprise to those who have been victimized by bullies, it is not what the researchers expected, Benjamin Lahey of the University of Chicago, who worked on the study, said in a telephone interview.

“‘The reason we were surprised is the prevailing view is these kids are cold and unemotional in their aggression,’ said Lahey, whose study appears in the journal Biological Psychology.

“‘This is looking like maybe they care very much,’ said Lahey, who worked on the study with Jean Decety, also of the University of Chicago.”
Bullies may get kick out of seeing others in pain, by Julie Steenhuysen, Reuters, November 7, 2008

Not exactly news, but I’m glad to hear Science is on the job and using fMRI, too:

“They showed both groups video clips of someone inflicting pain on another person and tracked brain activity with a type of imaging called functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI.”

~snip~

“‘It is entirely possible their brains are lighting in the way they are because they experience seeing pain in others as exciting and fun and pleasurable,’ Lahey said.”

Does this freak anybody else out? Other than the guy in the slaughterhouse with the sledgehammer, what productive role in society is there for these people? This doesn’t sound like something one grows out of.

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