The Social Growth of the Violent Brain: Brain Research on Teen Violence

Shahid M. Shahidullah, Virginia State University

: This paper will address the issue of relations between brain and violence. How do the brains of the young and the teens grow? What are the socially mediated interfaces between the development of the brain and the growth of violent behavior? How childhood abuse, neglect and experience of social violence shape the formation of the brain, and, hence, the articulation of socially expected behavior. There is strong sociological argument in criminology about relations between childhood abuse and the growth of deviant and violent behavior. But the question about how does abuse produce deviance remains largely unanswered in sociological literature on youth and teen violence. In recent years, we have seen a considerable amount of literature on this problem produced by the brain research community. It is imperative that we build a bridge of thought between this research from the brain research community and the extant sociological and psychological theories on childhood abuse and the growth of violence. This paper aims to bring to focus the major generalizations produced in recent years by the brain research community on this issue of relations between the brain and violence or what I call the issue of the growth of the "social brain".

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Updated 05/20/2006