Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A bully's brain: new research on the maladaptive reward system

Once thought to be a rite of passage when coming-of-age, bullying has come under the scrutiny of researchers, policy makers, educators, and parents as concerns rise over the long-term effects of a bullied brain.

While the neurological effects of the bullied brain have been studied extensively, less is known about the neurological cohorts of a bully's brain. New research published by Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine in New York is attempting to find the neural correlates of bullying behavior.

Aggressive and violent behaviors are thought to be linked to inappropriate activation of the brain's reward systems when exposed to aggressive stimuli. The ventromedial hypothalamus, amygdala, and limbic system are involved in initiating aggressive behaviors, but little is known about the mechanisms behind the motivation to perform aggressive or violent acts, such as bullying.