Originally posted by sonhouse
This should make next years list for the Ignoble Prize
Well if the news media actually reported science findings correctly and not sensationally it might have seemed a less obvious result!
What they actually found is that those subjects who had a diagnosed psychiatric disorder related to aggressive impulses did not show activation in brain regions associated with perspective-taking and empathy, but DID show activation in regions associated with the pleasurable aspects of reward. This is all while viewing movies of unknown third-parties getting deliberately hurt.
This means that these individuals may be qualitatively different from normal people who feel empathy and a sense of sympathy for the pain of others, and do not derive pleasure from it. Remember that this pain was inflicted by a third party on a third party, not by the individuals in the study.
Finally, it's unlikely that most bullies actually have conduct disorder - this is a rare psychiatric condition that affects only a small percentage of the population.
So - while the pithy headline may have made the research seem obvious and uninteresting, actually there was a lot in the study that was well worth finding out.