Other Free Encyclopedias » Law Library - American Law and Legal Information » Crime and Criminal Law » Crime Causation: Biological Theories - Genetic Epidemiological Studies, Gene-environment Interactions, Sex Differences In Genetic Liability To Criminality, Is There A Genetic Liability To Violence?

Crime Causation: Biological Theories - Future Directions: Brain Imaging And Criminal Behavior

frontal associated violent dysfunction

The field of neuroscience, through the use of brain imaging techniques, has provided illuminating data on the etiology of severe mental disorders, including depression and schizophrenia. These recent technological innovations are computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which provide information on brain structure, and positron emission tomography (PET) and regional cerebral blood flow (RCBF), which provide information on brain functioning. The advances and disadvantages of each method are thoroughly discussed in Raine (1993). These methods have recently been applied to the study of criminal behavior, lending support to the theory that criminal behavior may be associated with brain dysfunction.

To date, over 20 studies using these techniques have been published (see Raine, 1996). Taken together, these studies suggest that frontal and temporal dysfunction may be associated with violent behavior. The link between frontal dysfunction and impulsive, violent criminality is consistent with the notion that frontal lobe damage may be associated with a variety of correlates of violent behavior, including impulsivity, behavioral disinhibition, and poor concentration (Raine, 1993). It should be noted that these brain abnormalities may be caused by genetic, biological, or environmental agents. Criminals may be more likely to be involved in physical fights than noncriminals, and sustain head injuries as a result. Frontal lobe damage may also be attributed to birth or delivery complications, for example. Another concern relates to the issue of timing. Are structural and functional deficits present prior to the onset of criminal behavior, or are these changes in the brain triggered after the individual has begun their criminal career? To our knowledge, no study has been conducted examining pre-morbid measures of brain structure and function among criminals. Despite these issues, it is likely that our understanding of the biological and genetic underpinnings of criminal behavior will be greatly advanced through continued developments in brain imaging research.

Crime Causation: Biological Theories - Conclusions [next] [back] Crime Causation: Biological Theories - Serotonin

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or

Vote down Vote up

over 10 years ago

If we accept that an organism seeks a balance that supports existence and that what is defined as crimninal behavior is an effort to restore a balance and that all organisms are aware of this universal response in tmemselves and in other organisms then must acts of violence against the theory of survival be seen as expressions of warning that the system is failing at some point?



As a potential correlation can it be seen that a creative artist's effort to arrive at "better" or find more effective adjustments of structural elements in an organization as a solution to a problem on the symbolic plane?



And as an extension of that does the symmbolic solution equate to the practical?