- (CNN) -- How to discipline the next generation is a hotly debated topic. In 2012, a national survey showed more than half of women and three-quarters of men in the United States believe a child sometimes needs a "good hard spanking."
Science tells a different story. Researchers say physical punishment actually alters the brain -- not only in an "I'm traumatized" kind of way but also in an "I literally have less gray matter in my brain" kind of way.
"Exposing children to HCP (harsh corporal punishment) may have detrimental effects on trajectories of brain development," one 2009 study concluded.
This is actually pretty disconcerting--the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) is really integral to self-control and decision making, and a loss of gray matter in this area could be devastating.