German Neurologist Claims to Have Found Evil 'Dark Patch' on Brain

Published 02/07 2013 12:41PM

Updated 02/07 2013 12:44PM

After studying the brains of violent killers, rapists and robbers, German neurologist Gerhard Roth claims to have found a "dark patch" in the center of the brain -- he calls it the evil spot, a genetic source of violent behavior.

Roth, a professor at the University of Bremen, told Germany news site that he had shown short films to criminals and measured their brain activity. A small section at the front of their brains showed no reaction to violent scenes; it remained "dark" when shown dark scenes.

"Whenever there were brutal and squalid scenes, the subjects showed no emotions. In the areas of the brain where we create compassion and sorrow, nothing happened," Roth said.

BioEdge, a blog dedicated to bioethics news, translated Roth's German into English: "This is definitely the region of the brain where evil is formed and where it lurks."

Not so fast. Human behavior, affect and emotion is likely a far more intricate thing, explained Dr. Steven Galetta, chairman of the neurology department at the NYU School of Medicine.

"People look at the blood flow to one area and they say, 'aha, this is the evil patch.' It's probably a lot more complex than that," Galetta told

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