Neuroscientist Discovers He's a 'Born Killer'

Expert on killer brains spots one in his head
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 29, 2010 3:08 AM CDT
Updated Jul 3, 2010 8:19 AM CDT
Fallon consulted brain scans of his family he had taken for Alzheimer's research.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – A neuroscientist who spent the last 20 years studying the brains of killers was more than a little surprised to discover that he had one. Jim Fallon—after learning that his father's side of the family tree was full of alleged killers, including Lizzie Borden—analyzed family brain scans and discovered that out of living family members, he alone has the brain patterns that mark a psychopath.

Fallon's scan revealed a lack of activity in the orbital cortex, which is involved with decision-making and controlling aggression. "I'm 100%. I have the pattern, the risky pattern," Fallon told NPR. "In a sense, I'm a born killer." Fallon says that—unlike the criminals whose brains he's looked at—he had a very happy childhood free from violence and abuse, which he believes explains why he hasn't turned out to be a killer. The study of his own brain, he says, has caused him to rethink his ideas on nature versus nurture.

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