Brain Scans Might Predict Future Criminal Behavior

The paper, which is to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, studied impulsive and antisocial behavior and centered on the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a portion of the brain that deals with regulating behavior and impulsivity.

The study demonstrated that inmates with relatively low anterior cingulate activity were twice as likely to reoffend than inmates with high-brain activity in this region.

NeuroNews.ir

The study used the Mind Research Network’s Mobile Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) System to collect neuroimaging data as the inmate volunteers completed a series of mental tests.

“People who reoffended were much more likely to have lower activity in the anterior cingulate cortices than those who had higher functioning ACCs,” Kiehl said. “This means we can see on an MRI a part of the brain that might not be working correctly — giving us a look into who is more likely to demonstrate impulsive and anti-social behavior that leads to re-arrest.”

The anterior cingulate cortex of the brain is “associated with error processing, conflict monitoring, response selection, and avoidance learning,” according to the paper. People who have this area of the brain damaged have been “shown to produce changes in disinhibition, apathy, and aggressiveness. Indeed, ACC-damaged patients have been classed in the ‘acquired psychopathic personality’ genre.”

Journal Reference:

  1. E. Aharoni, G. M. Vincent, C. L. Harenski, V. D. Calhoun, W. Sinnott-Armstrong, M. S. Gazzaniga, K. A. Kiehl. Neuroprediction of future rearrest. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2013; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1219302110ScienceDaily

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