James H. Fallon

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James H. "Jim" Fallon (born October 18, 1947) is an American neuroscientist. He is professor of psychiatry and human behavior and emeritus professor of anatomy and neurobiology in the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine. His research interests include adult stem cells, chemical neuroanatomy and circuitry, higher brain functions, and brain imaging.

Fallon, who himself states that he has the neurological and genetic correlates of psychopathy,[1] has categorized himself as a "pro-social psychopath". In October 2013 his book, The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist's Personal Journey into the Dark Side of the Brain, was released by Current (acquired by Penguin).[2]


James Fallon was born to an Italian American family. He also has English ancestry as a descendant of New York colonial settlers the Cornell family. He discusses his ancestry, and the many murders that have occurred in that family line, in a monologue of his own genetics and family history which has been broadcast on National Public Radio.[3]


He received his biology and chemistry undergraduate training at Saint Michael's College in Vermont [4] and his psychology and psychophysics degree at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York. He carried out his Ph.D. training in neuroanatomy and neurophysiology at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, and his postdoctoral training in chemical neuroanatomy at UC San Diego. He is Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology at UC Irvine where he has served as Chairman of the University faculty and Chair and President of the School of Medicine faculty. He is a Sloan Scholar, Senior Fulbright Fellow, National Institutes of Health Career Awardee, and recipient of a range of honorary degrees, awards, and sits on several corporate boards and national think tanks for science, biotechnology, the arts, and the US military. He is a Subject Matter Expert in the field of "cognition and war" to the Pentagon's Joint Command.[citation needed]

Fallon has made significant scientific contributions in several neuroscientific subjects, including discoveries of TGF alpha, epidermal growth factor, and the first to show large-scale stimulation adult stem cells in the injured brain using growth factors. He has also made contributions in the fields of schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and the roles of hostility and gender in nicotine and cocaine addiction. He is also cited for his research in the basic biology of dopamine, norepinephrine, opioid peptides in the brain, connections of the cortex, limbic system, and basal ganglia in animals and humans. He has published in human brain imaging using positron emission tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, diffusion tensor imaging tractography techniques, and the new field of imaging genetics.[5]

Other work[edit]

In addition to his neuroscience research, James Fallon has lectured and written on topics ranging from art and the brain, architecture and the brain, law and the brain, consciousness, creativity, the brain of the psychopathic murderer, and the Vietnam War. He wrote Virga Tears: The True Story of a Soldier's Sojourn Back to Vietnam, which was published by Dickens Press in 2001.[6]

He has appeared on numerous documentaries, radio, and TV shows. From 2007 to 2009, he appeared on the History Channel series on science and technology (Star Wars Tech, Spider-Man Tech), CNN, PBS, BBC, and ABC for his work on stem cells, growth factors, psychopathology, tissue engineering, smart prostheses, schizophrenia, and human and animal behavior and disease. On November 18, 2009 he appeared as himself on the CBS crime drama series Criminal Minds, which explores his theory of trans-generational violence in areas of the world that experience continuous bouts of terrorism, war, and violence. In a related story, Dr. Fallon and his family underwent functional brain imaging and genetic analyses for potential violence related brain and genetic patterns, as reported in the edition of November 27, 2009 of the Wall Street Journal.[citation needed]

Fallon prominently featured in the BBC production Are You Good or Evil?,[1] where he revealed that he'd discovered that he, himself, has the neurological and genetic correlates of psychopathy. Fallon stated that he is not concerned and believes that his positive experiences in childhood negated any potential genetic vulnerabilities to violence and emotional issues.

Fallon is politically a libertarian, and religiously an agnostic.[7]


  1. ^ a b "Are You Good or Evil?. 7 September, 2011". Retrieved September 21, 2011.
  2. ^ "Confessions of a Pro-Social Psychopath" Archived August 19, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. World Science Festival. September 22, 2011. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  3. ^ https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127888976
  4. ^ "Alumni and Friends:Academic Hall of Fame". Saint Michael's College. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  5. ^ "Schizophrenia Daily News Blog: Imaging Genetics for Schizophrenia". Schizophrenia.com. August 10, 2005. Retrieved November 3, 2009.
  6. ^ "Customer Reviews: Virga Tears: The True Story of a Soldier's Sojourn Back to Vietnam". Amazon.com. Retrieved November 3, 2009.
  7. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOjykLQAdaE

External links[edit]