Brain structure and violence

On Tuesday Dr. Adrian Raine, a professor of criminology, psychiatry and psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, is coming out with a new book called The Anatomy of Violence: The biological roots of crime. Dr. Raine wrote an article in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal about neurocriminology—using neuroscience to understand and prevent crime. The article highlights some of the latest research on the relationships between certain brain structures, psychopathy and criminal behavior.

The Criminal Mind—Advances in genetics and neuroscience are revolutionizing our understanding of violent behavior as well as ideas about how to prevent and punish crime, on WSJ.com.

Posted in: Scientific research

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6 Comments on "Brain structure and violence"

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Thank you for posting this article. The scientific explanation is interesting, but I worry about the implications. Are they really going to let criminals plead that they aren’t responsible for their actions because of their brains? It sounds like “the devil made me do it.”

Interesting study.But like the previous poster,I feel this study gives criminals “a free ride on the bandwagon of excuses”.I feel compassion for the neglect and abuse that many of them have suffered,but there are many who suffered the same things who chose different paths….and I don’t believe it was just brain structure that made the difference!It still comes down to the choices they make.One learns to control the emotions before ever facing a situation as severe as choosing to commit a crime.It begins in childhood….not adolescence or adulthood.

When one has chosen to commit a crime,there still has to be an accountability.The idea that someone can steal,rape and murder and get off with a brain injury excuse is just wrong!Where’s the justice for the victim and her family?!Let God,not man be the Supreme Judge!

Fresh Air with Terry Gross aired an interview with this author today. It should be available to hear on line in the Fresh Air archives. Like a lot of MD’s, he isn’t incredibly sophisticated in his ideas, but he is amazingly split on the topic of “devil made me do it”, to borrow that wording.

Apparently a tv pilot is being made based on his book. (I personally hope it tanks, because imo these things inevitably turn out to be garbage, whether dinseyfied, overly pc, or depicting morally clear issues as murky… maybe if the folks from The Wire were doing this I would trust them…)

Here is the link to the Daily Mail UK’s take on it:

I am American, but I love this paper, a guilty pleasure

lost everything,
Thanks for posting that article.It’s always nice to read more than one opinion of matters.The pictures of the young boys was disturbing!Since reading the article Donna posted,I discussed it with a neighbor,and she was saying she could understand how abuse changes the brain.She was abused and her daghter has BPD.It’s a difficult situation.

Still,I cannot get to the point of accepting that people who have had such brain damage could be absolved of criminal actions!I still believe they can learn what is right and wrong,and act according-and be held accountable for their actions.I personally know a young teenage girl who was born prematurely and born without the front part of her brain…yet her parents have worked with her and taught her,and she does care about people.

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