Saturday, October 27, 2012

Induced psychopathy . . .

HOW DOES IT FEEL to think like a psychopath? Really. 

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (or TMS) was developed by Anthony Barker and his colleagues at the University of Sheffield in 1985.  TMS has widespread practical uses, in both diagnostic and therapeutic capacities, across a variety of neurological and psychiatric conditions, from depression and migraine to strokes and Parkinson's disease.

The Chronicle Review is a thoughtful site, with a fascinating article by Kevin Dutton, "Psychopathy's Double Edge", where he gets a TMS treatment to become psychopathic. Where it gets really interesting is that he gets a baseline of his normal brain along with Andy McNab, an S.A.S. combat veteran.

"Think of TMS as an electromagnetic comb, and brain cells—neurons—as hairs. All TMS does is comb those hairs in a particular direction, creating a temporary neural hairstyle. Which, like any new hairstyle, if you don't maintain it, quickly goes back to normal of its own accord."

Wonder what they'll be able to do with it in another 45 years or so?

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