Photo: Associated Press/California Department of Corrections
A new study suggests that the brains of violent criminals operate differently than normal people. A research team led by Nigel Blackwood of King’s College in London did brain scans of 44 men convicted of murder, rape and violent assaults and 22 law-abiding citizens.
Of the violent offenders, 17 met the criteria for antisocial personality disorder and psychopathy, or ASPD+P
Researchers found that criminals with ASPD+P had less structural grey matter than the other two sub-groups in two front sections of the brain — the anterior rostral prefrontal cortex and temporal poles.
The findings matter because these sections of the brain are involved in moral reasoning and processing of emotions such as guilt and embarrassment.
Psychopaths — who represent about 25 per cent of inmates — are characterised by a lack of guilt, empathy, and love. They are also known for their unapologetically reckless behaviour and difficultly controlling impulses.
The brain deficiency may contribute, in part, to the abnormal social behaviour observed in psychopaths.
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