Parts of the brain of a severely abused and neglected child can be substantially smaller than that of a healthy child. (Brain Connection. Scientific Learning Corporation.)

The right cerebral hemisphere processes the pictures in the same way whether they are actual footage or a dramatic recreation. The limbic system provides similar emotional responses in both situations. (Restak, Richard, MD. The New Brain, p 80-81.PA: Rodale, 2003.)

Prenatal or early childhood injury may be less damaging overall (e.g., neural circuits not yet committed to specific functions). From mid-adolescence on, injury can cause more damage (e.g., slower growth of new synapses, myelination is nearing completion). (Ratey, John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain, pp 39-41. NY: Vintage Books, 2002.)

Genetic factors or toxins may prevent cells from reaching their proper position. If extreme, the fetus will be aborted. If milder, a pathologist may detect the malformation. If even milder, a psychiatrist may detect the distortion (e.g., in brains of violent criminals) later on in life. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 54. NY:Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

Trauma can have a lifelong impact on learning ability, even a seemingly trivial incident like a bump on the head. For example, if the fragile temporal lobes are injured, a child may experience processing, emotional, and/or memory function problems. (Jensen, Eric. Brain-Based Learning (Revised). p 28. CA: The Brain Store, 2005.)

PET scan study. Individuals who imagined violent daydreams showed decreased activity in the orbito-frontal cortex. (Conway, Jim and Sally. Women In Midlife Crisis. p 80-82. IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1971.)

Under conditions of extreme threat or rage, when the brain is flooded with stress hormones, the analytical cortex is not in charge. The limbic brain and midbrain are quickest to respond to mobilize the individual to action. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 33. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

Stage 1 development is during 1st year of life; stage 2 begins about age 15. Development is shaped by the child’s experiences. Level of care, nurturing, and caregiver’s emotional state can impact development at the cellular level. (Pearce, Joseph Chilton. The Biology of Transcendence. p 42-46. VT: Park Street Press, 2002.)

Viewing violent images (e.g., TV, movies, videos) can activate the prefrontal cortex. The orbitofrontal cortex is in intimate contact with the emotional centers in the amygdalae and other limbic system components. (Restak, Richard, MD. The New Brain. p 68-74. PA: Rodale, 2003.)