Increased executive functioning, attention, and cortical thickness in white-collar criminals

Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. .
Human Brain Mapping (Impact Factor: 5.97). 12/2012; 33(12). DOI: 10.1002/hbm.21415
Source: PubMed


Very little is known on white-collar crime and how it differs to other forms of offending. This study tests the hypothesis that white-collar criminals have better executive functioning, enhanced information processing, and structural brain superiorities compared with offender controls. Using a case-control design, executive functioning, orienting, and cortical thickness was assessed in 21 white-collar criminals matched with 21 controls on age, gender, ethnicity, and general level of criminal offending. White-collar criminals had significantly better executive functioning, increased electrodermal orienting, increased arousal, and increased cortical gray matter thickness in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, inferior frontal gyrus, somatosensory cortex, and the temporal-parietal junction compared with controls. Results, while initial, constitute the first findings on neurobiological characteristics of white-collar criminals. It is hypothesized that white-collar criminals have information-processing and brain superiorities that give them an advantage in perpetrating criminal offenses in occupational settings. Hum Brain Mapp, 2011. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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    • "The perspective of a wide-ranging contribution from evolutionary psychology has already captured the imagination of crime scientists (Roach and Pease, 2013), though reminders that adaption is an onerous explanatory concept, and that accounts of ultimate (evolutionary) causes must be accompanied by an understanding of proximal (e.g., neuropsychological) mechanisms, should be heeded (de Waal, 2002). In criminology, embryonic comparative research into the executive functioning of white collar criminals (Raine et al., 2012) hints at the possibility of tailoring prevention technologies by offending type. Executive functioning—self-regulation, but also the functions which underpin cognitive adaptability and flexibility— is likely to be a fruitful area of research for CS should it seek to account more deeply for the failure of many criminals to displace. "
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    ABSTRACT: A recent disciplinary offshoot of criminology, crime science (CS) defines itself as "the application of science to the control of crime." One of its stated ambitions is to act as a cross-disciplinary linchpin in the domain of crime reduction. Despite many practical successes, notably in the area of situational crime prevention (SCP), CS has yet to achieve a commensurate level of academic visibility. The case is made that the growth of CS is stifled by its reliance on a model of decision-making, the Rational Choice Perspective (RCP), which is inimical to the integration of knowledge and insights from the behavioral, cognitive and neurosciences (CBNs). Examples of salient developments in the CBNs are provided, as regards notably multiple-system perspectives of decision-making and approaches to person-environment interaction. Short and long-term benefits of integration for CS are briefly outlined.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
    • "Although a few different types of offenders were included, the range of ASPD types still might have been too little. It is worth noticing that the very recent study of white-collar criminals with psychopathic traits delivered the observations that subjects of this group reflected even enhanced cognitive and attentive functioning (Raine et al., 2012). The authors of the study point out that good abilities in the field of decision-making, attention, and social perspective-taking support the strong adaptation of this specific type of criminals to effective functioning in organizations. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: The aim of our study was to analyze planning and executive control in aggressive offenders diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). The problem of inner diversity in the psychopathic population referring to these executive functions was examined, as well as the impact of executive functions on aggressiveness. Material/ Methods: Our research involved a group of 130 male subjects: 65 ASPD criminals in the clinical groups and the same number of non-criminals as a control gorup. The Violent Rating Scale and DSM-IV criteria for ASPD were applied; the neuropsychological instruments administered included the Stroop Test and the Tower of London Test;. Results: Our results confirmed the hypothesis that the level of exe - cutive functioning was lower in ASPD criminals in relation to both examined cognitive activities: planning and inhibitory control. Surprisingly, no associations were found between the executive indicators and the level of violence. Further investigation led to the conclusion that the ASPD population is heterogeneous in respect to planning capacities. Conclusions: Our findings are consistent with a majority of the scientific reports on executive functioning in the ASPD group, but shed more light on the problematic area of cognitive diversity within psychopaths. One important result from our study for forensic-clinical practice is that Stroop Test evinced better discriminatory power, and thus may be a better tool for determining if a suspected criminal is properly accused.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2013 · Acta Neuropsychologica
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    ABSTRACT: White-collar crime is one of the least understood and arguably most consequential of all crime types. In this review, recent (primarily during the past decade) contributions to white-collar crime theory (with special emphasis on critical, choice, and organizational theories of offending), new evidence regarding sentencing and punishment of white-collar offenders, and the controversies surrounding crime prevention and control policies are highlighted and assessed. Several promising new directions for white-collar crime research are identified as well as methodological and data deficiencies that limit progress in this area. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Sociology Volume 39 is July 11, 2013 . Please see for revised estimates .
    No preview · Article · Sep 2012 · Annual Review of Sociology
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