Then, the groups were given two hypothetical scenarios.
One story involved a physical assault. A man goes on a dinner date with a woman he has been seeing for two years. When he heads to the bathroom, a friend of his sits at the table and chats up the girlfriend. When the boyfriend gets back, he interrupts his friend asking for her number. Words are exchanged, and the boyfriend ends up hitting the other man over the head with a beer bottle.
The second scenario involves a couple on a first date. They’re watching a movie at the woman’s apartment. They start kissing during the movie, but as things become more intimate, the woman tells the man to stop. Despite her repeated protests, the man sexually assaults her.
The study participants were then asked to rate on a scale from 0 to 10 (with 0 being no chance and 10 being 100% chance) whether they would act like the violent protagonist. For those who had the brain stimulation, the likelihood that they would engage in physical assault was 47% lower than those who didn’t have the stimulation, and 70% lower that they would engage in sexual assault.
The authors think the results of this experiment hold promise.
This experiment does not mean that if scientists were to use this technique, all violence would go away any time soon. A lot more research is necessary, and the experiment involved only “healthy” people. Whether this could work on those who are prone to violence or demonstrated violent tendencies in the past “remains to be seen,” according to the study.
It’s also unclear whether people’s intentions would stay the same over time, but the experiment suggests that this physical stimulation in the brain may have a positive impact on one’s thoughts.
In order to use this technique, you’d have to get a person’s consent, Gourguechon said. “And you may have another motivational issue here, because you’d have to find people who admit that they have a problem with violence first.”
She said the experiment is interesting, but it would need to be tested in people who are repeatedly violent or prone to violent acting out, rather than healthy subjects, to see whether it changes their violent intentions.
The experiment showed that while there was a difference in the intent people had in the experiment of committing violence, there was no real difference in the way the two groups acted. Both groups were allowed to “release their negative energy” on a simulated voodoo doll meant to represent the friend or the date in the scenario. When it came to pushing pins into the doll, there was no difference between the groups’ behavior.
“This is not the magic bullet that’s going to wipe away aggression and crime,” Raine said. But he thinks it may be a kind of intervention that first-time offenders might want to try to reduce the chances they would commit violence again.
“The ability to manipulate such complex and fundamental aspects of cognition and behavior from outside the body has tremendous social, ethical and possibly someday legal implications,” Hamilton, an associate professor of neurology at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine, said in the statement. “Perhaps, the secret to holding less violence in your heart is to have a properly stimulated mind.”
News credit : Cnn