Brain and Violence Physiology

To understand violence, it is very important to first understand where and how it is formed; that is, to understand its source: the human brain.

There are several pathways in our human brain which can be nourished and strengthened by our interactions with ourselves, and with others around us. These pathways can be simplified as being two of them:

1- The long or conscious path.

2- The short path, not the unconscious one, but closest to instinctive in meaning.

The long path is what we face in life and requires a response from us, a situation that is initially directed towards the Limbic System, which contains all of our experiences and perceptions. Starting there, it goes to the frontal lobe of the brain, which is responsible for analyzing and interpreting things.

There it sees if the previous response was appropriate, then it responds to it, and if it’s not appropriate for the context, it creates a new response.

So, the long path depends on our previous experiences, analyzes them if they are suitable to adopt and act accordingly.

The short path happens when there are many pressures and risks, and therefore there is not much room to think about it, so the brain depends on preconceptions or previous experiences, whether they are personal experiences or experiences that occur around us, and therefore the response is direct towards the limbic system without heading towards the frontal lobe responsible for the analytical mechanism or the mechanism for studying the consequences that characterize our social personality.

The Limbic system gives commands directly based on our previous perceptions of something.

What does this have to do with violence?

Violence usually takes place in a tense atmosphere that contains many stereotypes and here the short path is most effective for people.

Because they often resort to stereotypes in their brain or general opinions they have about people, issues, and groups in general.

So, the way we think, the way we express our opinions or even act about things in life sets the pathways in our brains.

When we adopt and increase stereotypes or predisposed behaviors about things that happen around us, this means that we’re reinforcing the short pathway in our brain and reducing or weakening the analytical or conscious pathway in our brain.

Therefore, we have to be very attentive to the many major stereotypes that we have, the behaviors that we constantly act without realizing.

All of these things feed short pathways within the human brain.

In the result what will happen?

Either the response threshold will rise or it will decrease.

The response threshold is raised In the sense that we have a problem evaluating the fear around us and we reduce the fear around us.

Evidence for this is that at the present time, for example, in the time of the spread of the Corona virus, especially in Syria and Iraq, that is, in the countries that experienced war, people say: “We lived through war and the harsh conditions, so this virus will not affect us.”

Thus, the fear response threshold was greatly increased.

The other way is to lower the response threshold, The lowest state that occurs in front of me is the state of fear and panic and the state of response is very amplified.

As a result, all the activities and projects that we want to carry out in relation to the field of violence and its reduction, we must bear in mind that people who have lived under constant stress and fear are largely confined to direct or ready responses to life.

Therefore, our events and interventions should include activities to help people get out of the short path to the longer path, ie the conscious path, the analyst or the thinker.

In order to enhance and strengthen the conscious or thinking path there are a set of mechanisms that we will carry out.

From one of the events:

  • To train people to think about the problem from several sides or in the art of formulating and asking questions about the things that are happening around us.
  • Training people’s abilities to create and derive alternative solutions to the problems they are exposed to.
  • Training people on decision-making mechanisms at the level of individuals and groups.
  • It will also be necessary and very important to increase people’s knowledge about violence, the cycle through which violence passes, and the mechanisms necessary to address it.
  • The necessity of knowing people and giving them an idea of how human behavior is formed.

In this way people think more about their behaviors, and that there are many behaviors that they follow are general behaviors and already exist in the general society and we just take them and follow them without thinking about them.

A lot of our sayings are general sayings we say without thinking about them.