National Catholic Register

Culture of Life

Dukes Up or Guard Down?

BY The Editors

November 23-29, 2008 Issue | Posted 11/18/08 at 1:17 PM


Few subjects get Catholic parents arguing amongst one another like bullying. Should bullied children be taught to turn the other cheek — or to turn the tables on the proverbial money changers? We can’t definitively answer that question here, but we can offer an insight from a new study: The brains of serial bullies register pleasure when they see others in pain. As reported in the journal Biological Psychology, the effect can be seen in functional MRI images. “It just dumbfounded us,” said study author Benjamin Lahey of the University of Chicago. “They’re responding to others being hurt, but in a way, that’s self-reinforcing.” Discuss, parents. But no bullying.