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Brain Turns On Innate Behavior

Image on the left shows a watercolor illustration of the fruit fly. Image on the right shows several groups of peptide neurons (red, green colored neurons) in the fly brain that regulate innate behavior.UCR researchers have recently made a major breakthrough in understanding how the brain programs innate or inborn behaviours - i.e. behaviours that do not require learning or prior experience. Examples include courtship, sexual behaviours and aggression.

Quoted by one of the researchers, Professor Michael Adams:
"By understanding how innate behavior is wired in the brain, it becomes possible to manipulate behavior -- change its order, delay it or even eliminate it altogether -- all of which opens up ethical questions as to whether scientists should, or would want to, engineer behavior in this way in the future."

If such a technology can be applied to child abusers or people who are highly aggressive, the number of fights or child abuse cases will be lowered greatly. For example, in 2004, approximately 872,000 children were determined to be victims of child maltreatment in US. Imagine the effects of trauma on such children at a young age; they may not be able to trust in others again, especially if they have been sexually abused, or physically totured by acts of aggression by adults.

It may even make the world a better place, as humans will be less aggressive and wars such as current war between Israel and Lebanon can be avoided altogether, and we all can live in harmony as one united species in our planet Earth.

Link: ScienceDaily
Image: left © Carnegie Institution, right © Young-Joon Kim / UCR
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