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The Mad Genius: Are Evil and Intelligence Linked?

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There may be a very rational reason that the phrase "mad genius" exists. In fact, studies have shown a person's level of emotional intelligence (EI) may in fact influence a person's behavior on the scale of good and evil. Emotional intelligence—our ability to recognize, be in touch with and regulate our emotions so they don't overwhelm us—was long thought to only bring out the good people. Look closely, and you may even notice the strange psychological phenomena that occurs when sociopaths—or individuals who are cognizant of right and wrong, although feel no real compassion or remorse—also possess high IQs. Although they are devoid of much emotional intelligence, they are highly skilled, trained, educated—giving meaning to the idea of a mad genius.

So what exactly is the link between intelligence, emotion, good and evil—if any? How does a person's level of creativity play a role? Vincent Van Gogh, Sir Isaac Newton and Edgar Allen Poe were all creative powerhouses with personal demons such as alcoholism and mental illness, and demonstrated the best kind of mad genius. Yet others take a different turn. Serial killer Ted Bundy had an IQ of 124, John Wayne Gacy measured 118 on the scale, and Rodney Alcala had an astonishing IQ of 130. What separates these two groups, and how do these complicated concepts influence each other?

"We might say that both the artist and theneurotic bite off more than they can chew, but the artist spews it back out again and chews it over in an objectified way, as an ex­ternal, active, work project..." - Ernest Becker To learn more about Ernest Becker, please visit To purchase his writings, go to Join Jason Silva every week as he freestyles his way into the complex systems of society, technology and human existence and discusses the truth and beauty of science in a form of existential jazz. New episodes every Tuesday. Watch More Shots of Awe on TestTube Subscribe now! Jason Silva on Twitter Jason Silva on Facebook Jason Silva on Google+
Read more at Have you ever experienced that eerie feeling of a thought popping into your head as if from nowhere, with no clue as to why you had that particular idea at that particular time? You may think that such fleeting thoughts, however random they seem, must be the product of predictable and rational processes. After all, the brain cannot be random, can it? Surely it processes information using ordered, logical operations, like a powerful computer?
Full video available for free at Glenn Wilson, visiting professor of psychology at Gresham College, acknowledges that reports of famous mad geniuses throughout history may be overblown. Evidence, however, suggests relatives of creative people have higher rates of schizophrenia than the geniuses themselves.
In honor of Halloween, Trace looks at 5 real-life mad scientists, whose work are both awesome, and kind of terrifying. Read More: Galvanic Reanimation of the Dead The exploits of nineteenth century scientists with electrical batteries and corpses. "In 1803 Giovanni Aldini (Galvani`s nephew) performed experiments, in public, upon the severed heads of "malefactors" despatched in Bologna and at Newgate, London. A few accounts of these horrific demonstrations..." Is It Possible to Reanimate the Dead? "In 1999, a Swedish medical student named Anna Bagenholm lost control while skiing and landed head first on a thin patch of ice covering a mountain stream." 9 Real Life Mad Scientists "Are we too hard on mad scientists? After all, many of the world's greatest discoveries were made using experiments that would make the average citizen run screaming from the room." The 7 Cleverest Famous Mad Scientists "I'm not impressed by any old mad scientist. It's not that hard to do crazy things and get into the history books. There was Philadelphia doctor Stubbins Ffirth, for instance, who drank the black vomit of Yellow Fever patients to prove it wasn't infectious (actually, it was - he was insanely lucky to survive)." Craig Venter: 'This isn't a fantasy look at the future. We are doing the future' "Craig Venter reclines in his chair, puts his feet up on his desk and -- gently stroking his milk chocolate-coloured miniature poodle, Darwin, asleep in his arms -- shares his vision of the household appliance of the future." When was the first battery invented? "Batteries are a common source of power in our present age. We use batteries to start our cars, to power our laptops, to allow us to talk on our cell phones for hours and even to propel some of ourelectric vehicles for miles and miles on a single charge." 25 of the Scariest Science Experiments Ever Conducted "While science has the power to improve our lives and cure disease, it can also be used to torture, murder, and brainwash. Here are 25 scary experiments that destroyed lives, or have the potential to unleash doomsday." Watch More: Do Ghosts Exist? TestTube Wild Card What Makes Ouija Boards Move? ____________________ DNews is dedicated to satisfying your curiosity and to bringing you mind-bending stories & perspectives you won't find anywhere else! New videos twice daily. Watch More DNews on TestTube Subscribe now! DNews on Twitter Anthony Carboni on Twitter Laci Green on Twitter Trace Dominguez on Twitter DNews on Facebook DNews on Google+ Discovery News
Savants can have severe mental disabilities, and yet are brilliant in certain areas like math, art, music, and memory. But now as Trace tells us, scientists are looking into what can be done to unlock this hidden power in all of us. Read More: "When Brain Damage Unlocks The Genius Within" "Brain damage has unleashed extraordinary talents in a small group of otherwise ordinary individuals. Will science find a way for everyone to tap their inner virtuoso?" "Electrically Stimulating the Brain Can Boost Visual Memory 110 Percent" "Literally donning an electrode-studded thinking cap can improve your memory by 110 percent, according to a new study by Australian researchers. " "Eureka! When a Blow to the Head Creates a Sudden Genius" "Brain injuries can sometimes reveal extraordinary talents in people. Now, savant syndrome is helping to create whole new fields of scientific discovery." "Unlock Your Inner Rain Man by Electrically Zapping Your Brain" "Imagine a creativity cap. A device that would free you, if only momentarily, from your mindsets, from your prejudices, from the mental blocks to creativity." "Brain Scan of a Savant" "Can regular people become savants?" "As Jonathan points out, the technical definition of a savant is someone who possesses detailed knowledge in a particular field. If we go by that usage, the question of whether regular people can be savants seems to be an unequivocal yes." "10 Most Fascinating Savants in the World" "Can brain damage lead to extraordinary art?" "Savant syndrome often appears in childhood, frequently as a result of autism but sometimes after an illness, stroke or seizure." DNews is a show about the science of everyday life. We post two new videos every day of the week. Watch More Subscribe DNews Twitter Anthony Carboni Twitter: Laci Green Twitter Trace Dominguez Twitter DNews Facebook DNews Google+ DNews Website
10 Unethical Medical Experiments From secret weapons tests to illegal drug studies, here are 10 medical experiments that were highly unethical. Music = Rocket Fish 2 by Dan Skinner and Adam Skinner Where else to find All Time 10s... Facebook: Twitter: Check out a selection of video's highlighting some Alltime10's favourite and interesting people.. @
Thanks to MRI and fMRI bran scans, we now know much more about how damage to or deficiencies in certain parts of the brain may underlie "evil" behavior. Topic: The neurobiology of evil Michael Stone: For a long time, people wondered: "Is there something different about the brain of somebody who does violent acts, particularly repetitive violent acts in comparison to an ordinary person's brain?"  But not very much was known about it until the last maybe 15-20 years, particularly as we entered the era of the Magnetic Resonance Imaging.  And with MRI and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging where you're actually are taking pictures of the brain as the person is looking at some picture or hearing certain words and showing how the brain blood flow differs from moment to moment, now we really know a lot more than we used to.  And it turns out that there are a number of areas in the brain that are very important in social decision making and moral attitudes and so on.   If you think that the brain has a number of main sections, there's, everyone knows about the wrinkly cortex of the part that seems to underlie thought, but there's a more primitive part of the brain that deals with emotion called the limbic system and then there's the part of the brain that just has to do with arousal versus just being asleep.   In the limbic system, there's the small organ called the amygdala that registers emotion, but particularly has an ability to recognize when somebody else out there has a fearful face or is in a state of fight or upset.  The interesting thing about the kind of cold-hearted murderers is that their amygdala's don't function properly, the way ours does and they may recognize dimly that so and so out there is afraid, but they don't have the concern that you or I would say, if we saw a crying kid in a department store who probably got separated from its mother.  They would recognize it, but they would take advantage of the child, pretend to take it to the information booth, you know, to get it reconnected with its mom, and then kidnap the kid or something like that.  So, their amygdala functions in a significantly different way, as has been shown by a number of neuroscientific researchers in the last 10-15 years.   Another important area is the front part of the brain, the lower front part of the brain called the orbitofrontal cortex.  That area is involved in moral decision-making in figure out what's right versus what's wrong that we learned as we grow up and are instructed by our parents and our teachers.  So, if that area of the brain is not operating at full tilt, it may be possible then to carryout an act which would be repugnant and very much against the law if it were contemplated by an ordinary person, but that does not stop the individual who has this defect in the orbitofrontal cortex from carrying out the act that he may feel like doing.  So think of the orbitofrontal cortex as kind of a braking system, which if it's operating will put the brakes on a thought or a desire that may have preceded it: "I'd like to kill that son of a bitch," or "I want to take that kid and kidnap him and --" you know, but then one thinks of the consequences, "Oh my god, I'd be eating cheese sandwiches in jail for the rest of my life, I won't go there."  But if that cortex is not operating the person would just go ahead and do it.   So we know now that there's interconnection between the amygdala and the frontal cortex actually and if that connectivity is not operating properly, the person may go ahead and do the unspeakable crime, which otherwise he would have put the brakes on or maybe even, you know, not even contemplate doing it in the first place.   There are other areas of the brain, like the anterior cingulate that acts as a kind of a jury so that when messages gets sent up to that part of the brain, the -- if you can imagine the anterior cingulate cortex having a mind of its own, so to speak.  It might say, "Well, yeah, I hear you want to kill your wife and get the insurance money, but I don't know.  You could get into a lot of trouble for that.  And so I'd vote against it."  And if that message is weak and it gets transmitted to the frontal cortex and the frontal cortex says, "Eh, what the heck.  I can get away with it and I can be rich forever."  The person goes ahead and does it.  But if the person gets the message from the anterior cingulate that says, "Hm, bad move.  We vote against it.  We don't have the power to stop it, but we vote against it."  And the cortex would say, "Yeah, I agree with you guys, we're not going to let that happen."   So there are these very important and interesting areas in the brain that have to do with whether we behave morally or whether we can break the law with impunity.  Recorded July 28, 2010 Interviewed by Max Miller
"Great wits are sure to madness near allied, and thin partitions do their bounds divide" (Dryden) There often seems to be a link between creativity and mental illness. Many great poets, playwrights, artists and composers suffered from depression, alcoholism, obsessionality, bipolar or psychotic disorders at some time in their lives. How strong is the link and what might account for it? Are these disorders beneficial to the creative process or a drawback that must be overcome? The transcript and downloadable versions of all of the lectures are available from the Gresham College website: Gresham College has been giving free public lectures since 1597. This tradition continues today with all of our five or so public lectures a week being made available for free download from our website. There is currently nearly 1,500 lectures free to access or download from the website. Website: Twitter: Facebook:
Subscribe to Talk Nerdy To Me Today: Watch More Talk Nerdy to Me Here: **** More Below **** HuffPost Science Correspondent Cara Santa Maria describes the macabre demonstrations of mad scientist Giovanni Aldini, the "corpse reanimator" who is rumored to be the inspiration for Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. HuffPost Science invites you to going the discussion with top scientists covering the latest news in spaceflight, brain/body research, evolution, and the influence of science on culture.