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August 4, 1989

Peace Through Mind/Brain Science

JAMA. 1989;262(5):625-626. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430050037023

Conventional wisdom is that international conflict is due to the existence of individual nations, resulting in pervasive international insecurity, anxiety, and fear, often progressing to aggressive behavior and war. Socioeconomic inequality is often cited as another cause of human conflicts. A third but less conventional cause—abnormal brain function—was emphasized at recent scientific meetings in Japan, where it was proposed that a key to world peace may lie in a greater understanding of how brain chemistry affects human emotions.

"Peace Through Mind/Brain Science" was the theme of two conferences held in Hamamatsu City, Japan—the first in May 1988, and the second in February 1989.1-3 Discussion at these conferences emphasized new imaging technologies, including positron emission tomography (PET), that make it possible for the first time to relate human thought, emotions, and behavior to measurable chemical reactions within the living human brain.4,5

The second conference was sponsored by a newly