December 20th, 2012
09:12 PM ET

Exploring the brain of a killer, finding traits of a psychopath

Adam Lanza left few clues for investigators as to why he went on a shooting spree killing 27 people last Friday. A geneticist has now joined the investigation to help determine what role biology may have played.

Dr. Jim Fallon is a neuroscientist who studies the biological traits of psychopathic killers.

A relatively new science, he has analyzed the brains of more than 70 murderers to gain some insight into what factors contribute to the profile of a criminal - even tackling what Dr. Drew Pinsky said on the show last night that yes, people can be born to kill.

Three years ago, Dr. Fallon collected brain scans of seven family members, including his own, to asses their risk of developing Alzheimer's. After discovering that his father's ancestral line was connected to killers he decided to correlate his family's scans with those of the murderers he studies to find cues of aggression and violence.

Dr. Fallon found that certain areas of a killer's brain are often damaged. But three combined factors are what set off a murderer to commit the crime: violent genes, damage in some parts of the brain and exposure to traumatic experiences during childhood.

OutFront tonight Dr. Jim Fallon, Neuroscientist, University of California, Irvine.

Filed under: Crime • CT Shooting • Health
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