Feeling of hatred activates specific brain areas

October 29th, 2008 - 4:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Oct 29 (IANS) Feeling of hatred activates specific areas of the brain that may be thought of as a “hate circuit”, according to a new research. The study by Semir Zeki and John Romaya of Wellcome Laboratory of Neurobiology at University College of London (UCL), examined brain areas that correlate with the sentiment of hate and shows it being distinct from those bearing on emotions like fear, threat and danger.

The results are an extension of previous studies on the brain mechanisms of romantic and maternal love from the same lab. Zeki said: “Hate is often considered to be an evil passion that should, in a better world, be tamed, controlled, and eradicated.”

“Yet to the biologist, hate is a passion that is of equal interest to love. Like love, it is often seemingly irrational and can lead individuals to heroic and evil deeds. How can two opposite sentiments lead to the same behaviour?”

To compare their present results with their previous ones on romantic love, Zeki and Romaya specifically studied hate directed against an individual.

Seventeen subjects, both female and male, had their brains scanned while viewing pictures of their hated person as well as that of neutral faces with which they were familiar.

Viewing a hated person showed activity in distinct areas of the brain that, together, may be thought of as a “hate circuit”.

The hate circuit includes parts of the brain important in generating aggressive behaviour as if the brain becomes mobilised to take some action, according to an UCL release.

Unlike romantic love, which is directed at one person, hate can be directed against individuals or groups, as is the case with racial, political or gender hatred, said Zeki.

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