Scientists at Cambridge University have found that emotional centers of the
brain show stunted growth in boys who have been convicted of antisocial
behavior like robbery or even violence. Due to the poor development of amygdala
and insula area of the brain, teenage yobs are unable to identify with their victims.
Earlier studies have linked poor parenting in the early years and the worst
behaved adolescents but this is the first time when scientists have used brain
scanning for explain the behavior of boys who have been diagnosed with extreme 'conduct
disorder'. Earlier scientists thought that such behavior was influenced by
their misbehaving peers. But the brain scan study of 63 boys with an average
age of 18 years showed that similar areas of the brain were affected in all the
boys who committed antisocial acts and this area (insula) shrank further as the
behavioral problems among them got worse.
Scientists feel that further studies were needed to
investigate whether these changes in brain structure are a cause or a
consequence of conduct disorder. These findings have been published
in the online version of American Journal of Psychiatry.