The first topic in the course ( http://moshimoshimo.spacs.live.com/blog/cns!1D0F2197A6F55843!1125.entry) was “bullying”. Recently bullying, especially in schools, has been a big problem in Japan. Last year, many (at least 30) children killed themselves because of bullying. Although it’s obvious that there are many bullying in the educational world, many teachers and schools don’t admit the fact still now.

     What is worse that some teachers themselves bully students in some cases. Last year it was revealed that a teacher bullied one of his students with them and let him die. The child hanged himself in the shed of his house. His teacher’s bullying was found out by his suicide note. In front of his coffin, his parents cry out to the teacher, “What did you do to my son?” The teacher muttered to them that he might have teased him.

     What is the differences between teasing and bullying, then? According to Diana Townsend-Butterworth, it seems that teasing becomes bullying. http://content.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=1438The conclusion is also quoted but the article says:

     What Bulling Is

     Unfortunately, teasing is often part of growing up – almost every child experiences it. But it isn’t always as innocuous as it seems. Words can cause pain. Teasing becomes bullying when it is repetitive or when there is a conscious intent to hurt another child, says Merle Froschl, CO-Director of Educational Equity Concepts, a non-profit organization that addresses issues of teasing and bulling. Bulling includes a range of behaviors, all of which result in an imbalance of power among children. It can be:
*Verbal: making threats, name-calling
*Psychological: excluding children, spreading rumors
*Physical: hitting, pushing, taking a child’s possessions

     Why people sometimes bully others, then? I found an interesting article on the Chunichi, the newspaper yesterday morning. Because the article is written in Japanese, I’ll translate into English. The title is Live with bullying.

     They are usually still, but suddenly stand up and start threatening when they get excited. They are Cobras at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo. Their one of feeds is blue-green snakes. Cobras swallow them up.

     Why people bully others? Prof. Takada (Hamamatsu Medical University) says, “Bullying is caused by being out of control of the reptile brain.”

     The brain of human beings consists of triple structures. Takada says, “Human-beings had added new brains to the old ones in the process of evolution.” According to him, the oldest brain is the brainstem. It’s called “the reptile brain”. It’s covered by the cerebral limbic system so-called “dog and cat brain”. And it’s covered by the cerebral neocortex, which is called “human brain”.

     According to Takada, “reptile brain” is also called “the brain of life” and necessity for breathing or beating of the heart. And the brain tries to keep own territory, and attack and remove enemies. “Dog and cat brain” also attacks others, but it’s only when it regards people or creatures as enemies. And then “human brain” can forgive even enemies.

     Takada thinks that people sometimes become aggressive and bully someone when these three brains become unbalanced. “Reptile brain” and “dog and cat brain” are primitive and sometimes drive the newest brain and let people lose control.

     According to Takada, the three brains become unbalanced when the person is tired, or is irritated or has no self-confidence. And the key is serotonin, which is related to mental condition. Takada says, “Anyone has “bullying brains”. Bullies are not special. So we have to think how we keep balance of the brains.”

     Another specialist, Prof. Kubota (Nihon Fukushi University) has a different view. According to him, bulling is caused by ecstasy, not impulse or instinct. He says, “People repeat something including bullying because the brains feel pleasure when they are doing it.”

     Midbrain has neurons called A10. When the part activates, many areas, for example, prefrontal area, and motor area also activates by secreted dopamine. And when those areas activate, dopamine is more secreted and it causes A 10 to activate more. It’s the circulation of pleasure. That is, when people bully someone continuously, the brains of the bullies feel pleasure.

     Prof. Kubota shows a hint. “If you are angry to the bullies, saying “Stop bullying! “, your words will be useless, when their brains feel pleasure. You should praise them when they are not bullying anyone and let them feel pleasure.

     I think the reason why people bully someone because that the bullies try to release their stress and other complaints by feeling pleasure. Unfortunately, there is much stress and many problems in Japan, people don’t feel happy so much. Japan is one of the richest countries in the world, though. Bullying problem shows our weakness in the society and is nothing but one of phenomena in the social problems.


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