Campus News

Prof. Rick Thompson on Discovery Channel's "Most Evil"

Story posted February 26, 2008

Rick Thompson, Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, was featured in the series "Most Evil" on Investigation Discovery, part of the Discovery Channel network, Thursday, February 28, 2008.

Rick Thompson100.jpg
Rick Thompson

A crew from the series, which focuses on the most evil serial killers based upon a "scale of evil," was on campus last summer to record a recreation of an experiment Thompson published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2006.

The article focused on how vasopressin, a chemical produced in the brain, could affect aggressive behavior.

"We showed vasopressin differentially affects facial muscle contractions in response to and subjective evaluations of the faces of same sex models in men and women," said Thompson.

"Some of the muscle contraction patterns were similar to those that occur when people make threatening or aggressive faces, so we argued it affects aggressive communication processes. How the producers of the show are going to relate that to violence will be interesting!"

Click here to read the study.

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