Where does the killer instinct come from? Many of us have this question in mind when we are watching the news about a serial killer or a terrorist. Nobody knows exactly what triggers the killer instinct. Some say that all of us have it and it is not activated.
A new study showed that when it comes to mice the killer instinct can be easily triggered with the help of lasers. Researchers were able to transform normal mice into killer ones. They only manipulated circuits in the brains of the mice. The researchers focused on the amygdala, the fear center.
This research shows that the killer instinct can be activated by manipulating a part of the brain. The mice were easy to manipulate but that doesn’t mean that the findings apply to humans or larger animals too.
In order to activate that instinct in mice, the researchers used a technique named optogenetics. This technique involves modifying brain cells with the help of a virus. After that, the researchers used a laser in order to activate the neurons.
After they used the laser the reaction was instant. Once the laser was turned on the mice started to attack anything they saw. They jumped on an object and they started to bite it. After the laser was turned off they stopped and acted normally.
This shows that some cells in the brain of a mouse can be controlled with the help of a laser. The researchers were amazed to see the reactions the mice had when the lasers were turned on again. They could repeat the experiment many times and the mice acted the same.
“We’d turn the laser on and they’d jump on an object, hold it with their paws and intensively bite it as if they were trying to capture and kill it,” said Ivan de Araujo, an associate professor of psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine
The researchers also mentioned that these findings do not apply to people too. They also said that it would be extremely hard to make such an experiment on people or bigger animals because the light of the laser needs to shine right on them. This study shows more about the killer instinct but researchers said that they need to make more studies on this topic.
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