Brain abnormalities in antisocial individuals: Implications for the law

Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-1061, USA.
Behavioral Sciences & the Law (Impact Factor: 0.96). 01/2008; 26(1):65-83. DOI: 10.1002/bsl.788
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT With the increasing popularity in the use of brain imaging on antisocial individuals, an increasing number of brain imaging studies have revealed structural and functional impairments in antisocial, psychopathic, and violent individuals. This review summarizes key findings from brain imaging studies on antisocial/aggressive behavior. Key regions commonly found to be impaired in antisocial populations include the prefrontal cortex (particularly orbitofrontal and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex), superior temporal gyrus, amygdala-hippocampal complex, and anterior cingulate cortex. Key functions of these regions are reviewed to provide a better understanding on how deficits in these regions may predispose to antisocial behavior. Objections to the use of imaging findings in a legal context are outlined, and alternative perspectives raised. It is argued that brain dysfunction is a risk factor for antisocial behavior and that it is likely that imaging will play an increasing (albeit limited) role in legal decision-making.

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Available from: Andrea L Glenn, Jun 11, 2015
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    • "Relevant work from forensic psychology, biological psychiatry, and genetics is incorporated with the goal of integrating converging findings across disciplines so that each area can inform the other. While several authors have written recent reviews on similar topics (e.g., the neurobiology of psychopathy , the neurobiology of aggression in children: Blair, Peschardt, Budhani, & Pine, 2006a, 2006b; Glenn & Raine, 2008; Kiehl, 2006; Sterzer & Stadler, 2009; Yang & Raine, 2008), most of these reviews have been written more narrowly with the primary goal of describing an author's theory of neural mechanisms involved in AB, with less emphasis on a critical examination of the reviewed studies' methods and results. In contrast, the goals of the current review are as follows: (1) to provide a broad and in-depth literature review of the functional neuroimaging literature as it relates to youth AB with the goal of evaluating how this literature has informed our understanding of youth AB at the neural and behavioral level; (2) to evaluate the current neuroimaging studies of youth AB from a developmental perspective with an eye towards integrating research from neuroscience and concepts from developmental psychopathology, as little work has examined how behavioral and neuroimaging studies inform each other and how the integration of these studies may highlight areas for future research; (3) to examine strengths and weaknesses of neuroimaging and behavioral studies of youth AB to suggest how future studies can develop a more informed and integrated understanding of youth AB; and (4) to examine how other relevant literatures (i.e., structural MRI of youth AB, neuroimaging in psychopathy, neurotransmitter and genetics approaches, findings from normative adolescents) can inform current and future functional neuroimaging studies of youth AB. "
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    ABSTRACT: Youth antisocial behavior (AB) is an important public health concern impacting perpetrators, victims, and society. Functional neuroimaging is becoming a more common and useful modality for understanding neural correlates of youth AB. Although there has been a recent increase in neuroimaging studies of youth AB and corresponding theoretical articles on the neurobiology of AB, there has been little work critically examining the strengths and weaknesses of individual studies and using this knowledge to inform the design of future studies. Additionally, research on neuroimaging and youth AB has not been integrated within the broader framework of developmental psychopathology. Thus, this paper provides an in-depth review of the youth AB functional neuroimaging literature with the following goals: 1. to evaluate how this literature has informed our understanding of youth AB, 2. to evaluate current neuroimaging studies of youth AB from a developmental psychopathology perspective with a focus on integrating research from neuroscience and developmental psychopathology, as well as placing this research in the context of other related areas (e.g., psychopathy, molecular genetics), and 3. to examine strengths and weaknesses of neuroimaging and behavioral studies of youth AB to suggest how future studies can develop a more informed and integrated understanding of youth AB.
    Developmental Review 09/2013; 33(3). DOI:10.1016/j.dr.2013.06.001 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "Our findings of higher current antisocial behavior in short-term abstinence than in longterm abstinence (Table 3) reiterates our previous reports (Fein and Fein 2012). While most studies in the literature have reported an association between antisocial behavior and attenuated activity or synchrony of executive control regions (Muller et al. 2003; Yang et al. 2008; Motzkin et al. 2011; Pujol et al. 2011; Juárez et al. 2012), there are a few studies that have reported that antisocial behavior is also associated with heightened activation or synchrony of appetitive drive regions (Buckholtz et al. 2010; Bjork et al. 2012). Our current finding of a positive association between RSS within the appetitive drive network and current antisocial symptoms in STAA is novel, suggesting a link between current antisocial behavior and enhanced RSS within brain regions known to process reward. "
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: We previously reported that when compared with controls, long-term abstinent alcoholics (LTAA) have increased resting-state synchrony (RSS) of the inhibitory control network and reduced synchrony of the appetitive drive network, and hypothesized that these levels of synchrony are adaptive and support the behavioral changes required to maintain abstinence. In this study, we investigate whether these RSS patterns can be identified in short-term abstinent alcoholics (STAA). METHODS: Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data were collected from 27 STAA, 23 LTAA, and 23 nonsubstance abusing controls (NSAC). We examined baseline RSS using seed-based measures. RESULTS: We found ordered RSS effects from NSAC to STAA and then to LTAA within both the appetitive drive and executive control networks: increasing RSS of the executive control network and decreasing RSS of the reward processing network. Finally, we found significant correlations between strength of RSS in these networks and (i) cognitive flexibility, and (ii) current antisocial behavior. CONCLUSIONS: Findings are consistent with an adaptive progression of RSS from short- to long-term abstinence, so that, compared with normal controls, the synchrony (i) within the reward network progressively decreases, and (ii) within the executive control network progressively increases.
    Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research 02/2013; 37. DOI:10.1111/acer.12037 · 3.31 Impact Factor
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    • "This body of research has a crucial role in informing theoretical accounts of the development of ASB, and treatment and prevention interventions. It has been argued that neuropsychological impairments may be a key mechanism mediating the effects of genetic and psychosocial influences on ASB (Raine et al. 2005; Yang, Glenn, and Raine 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: A meta-analysis was performed to quantify the association between antisocial behavior (ASB) and performance on neuropsychological executive functioning (EF) measures. This meta-analysis built on Morgan and Lilienfeld's (2000) meta-analysis of the same topic by including recently published studies and by examining a wider range of EF measures. A total of 126 studies involving 14,786 participants were included in the analyses. Antisocial groups performed significantly worse on measures of EF compared with controls, with a grand mean effect size of d= .44. Significant variation occurred in the magnitude of effect sizes calculated across studies. The largest effect sizes were found for criminality (d= .61) and externalizing behavior disorder (d= .54) ASB groups, whereas the smallest effect sizes were found for antisocial personality disorder (d= .19) groups. Larger differences in EF performance were observed across studies involving participants from correctional settings and with comorbid attention deficit and hyperactivity problems. Overall, the results indicated that a robust association exists between ASB and poor EF that held across studies with varied methodological approaches. The methodological issues in the research literature and the implications of the meta-analysis results are discussed, and the directions for future research are proposed.
    Criminology 10/2011; 49(4):1063 - 1107. DOI:10.1111/j.1745-9125.2011.00252.x · 2.47 Impact Factor
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