Genetic and Environmental Influences on Antisocial Behaviors: Evidence from Behavioral–Genetic Research

Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London SE5 8AF, United Kingdom.
Advances in genetics (Impact Factor: 6.76). 02/2005; 55:41-104. DOI: 10.1016/S0065-2660(05)55003-X
Source: PubMed


This article reviews behavioral-genetic research into human antisocial behavior. The focus is on studies of antisocial behavior that have been leading the way in investigating environmental and genetic influences on human behavior. The first generation of studies, which provided quantitative estimates attesting that genes and environments each influence about half of the population's variation in antisocial behaviors is interpreted. Then how behavioral-genetic methods are being applied to test developmental theory and to detect environmental causes of antisocial behavior is illustrated. Evidence for interactions between genes and the environment in the etiology of antisocial behavior is also examined. The article ends by envisioning future work on gene-environment interplay in the etiology of antisocial behavior.

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    • "estimated as R 2 coefficients) in each of the three latent ASB measures explained by the pedigree risk factor. Based on the convergence of findings from a substantial number of studies employing twin-and adoption-based research designs to estimate the genetic and environmental influences on ASB (Ferguson, 2010; Mason & Frick, 1994; Miles & Carey, 1997; Moffitt, 2005; Rhee & Waldman, 2002 "
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    ABSTRACT: An impressive literature has revealed that variation in virtually every measurable phenotype is the result of a combination of genetic and environmental influences. Based on these findings, studies that fail to use genetically informed modeling strategies risk model misspecification and biased parameter estimates. Twin-and adoption-based research designs have frequently been used to overcome this limitation. Despite the many advantages of such approaches, many available datasets do not contain samples of twins, siblings or adoptees, making it impossible to utilize these modeling strategies. The current study proposes a measurement strategy for estimating the intergenerational transmission of antisocial behavior (ASB) within a nationally representative sample of singletons using an extended pedigree risk approach that relies on information from first-and second-degree relatives. An evaluation of this approach revealed a pattern of findings that directly aligned with studies examining ASB using more traditional twin-and adoption-based research designs. While the proposed pedigree risk approach is not capable of effectively isolating genetic and environmental influences, this overall alignment in results provides tentative evidence suggesting that the proposed pedigree risk measure effectively captures genetic influences. Future replication studies are necessary as this observation remains preliminary. Whenever possible, more traditional quantitative genetic methodologies should be favored, but the presented strategy remains a viable alternative for more limited samples.
    Twin Research and Human Genetics 09/2015; DOI:10.1017/thg.2015.68 · 2.30 Impact Factor
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    • "The stability of the psychopathic personality trait and its strong genetic determination (Tielbeek et al., 2012; Yildirim and Derksen, 2013) would argue against the possibility to self-regulate brain activity in fearrelated regions. On the other hand, social and developmental factors also play a fundamental role in psychopathic behavior (Viding, 2004; Moffitt, 2005). These environmental factors suggest that modification of the fear circuitry is possible. "
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    ABSTRACT: This pilot study aimed to explore whether criminal psychopaths can learn volitional regulation of the left anterior insula with real-time fMRI neurofeedback. Our previous studies with healthy volunteers showed that learned control of the blood oxygenation-level dependent (BOLD) signal was specific to the target region, and not a result of general arousal and global unspecific brain activation, and also that successful regulation modulates emotional responses, specifically to aversive picture stimuli but not neutral stimuli. In this pilot study, four criminal psychopaths were trained to regulate the anterior insula by employing negative emotional imageries taken from previous episodes in their lives, in conjunction with contingent feedback. Only one out of the four participants learned to increase the percent differential BOLD in the up-regulation condition across training runs. Subjects with higher Psychopathic Checklist-Revised (PCL:SV) scores were less able to increase the BOLD signal in the anterior insula than their lower PCL:SV counterparts. We investigated functional connectivity changes in the emotional network due to learned regulation of the successful participant, by employing multivariate Granger Causality Modeling (GCM). Learning to up-regulate the left anterior insula not only increased the number of connections (causal density) in the emotional network in the single successful participant but also increased the difference between the number of outgoing and incoming connections (causal flow) of the left insula. This pilot study shows modest potential for training psychopathic individuals to learn to control brain activity in the anterior insula.
    Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 10/2014; 8:344. DOI:10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00344 · 3.27 Impact Factor
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    • "Gambling resembles delinquency (Kendler et al. 2008), however, in that both appear to be significantly influenced by genetic factors. Indeed, early adolescent gambling may be more influenced by genetic factors than delinquency: genetic factors explain approximately 40 % of delinquency (Harris 1995; Moffitt 2005; Rhee and Waldman 2002; Tuvblad and Baker 2011; Viding et al. 2008) compared to 50 % of gambling involvement (Vitaro et al. 2014) and 70 % of gambling problems (Beaver et al. 2010). Hence, genetic factors could, at least in part, explain the high level of sibling similarity on these problem behaviors. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined sibling influence over gambling involvement and delinquency in a sample of 628 twins (151 male dyads, 163 female dyads). Self-reports of gambling involvement and delinquency were collected for each twin at ages 13, 14 and 15 years. Results revealed evidence of between-twin influence. Higher levels of an adolescent's delinquency predicted an increase in his or her co-twin's delinquency from age 13 to age 14 and from age 14 to age 15. In contrast, gambling behavior was unaffected by the co-twin's gambling involvement. Within-twins, higher initial levels of delinquency predicted a subsequent increase in gambling behavior from age 13 to age 14 and again from age 14 to age 15, and higher initial levels of gambling involvement predicted an increase in delinquency from age 14 to age 15. Between and within siblings effects are discussed in light of the scant literature on (a) sibling influence on gambling, and (b) the links between gambling and delinquency.
    Journal of Gambling Behavior 07/2014; 31(4). DOI:10.1007/s10899-014-9487-9 · 1.28 Impact Factor
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