home
RSS
Kids' brains may hold clues to future criminals
February 21st, 2011
11:15 AM ET

Kids' brains may hold clues to future criminals

Who is going to grow up to become a criminal or psychopath?

Current research in genetics and neuroscience may point towards answers to this question, opening up a whole host of ethical questions about culpability, justice and treatment.

"Is there truly freedom of will, as the law assumes? Freedom of will may not be as free as many of us may think," said Adrian Raine of the University of Pennsylvania.

Experiments by Raine have found that by looking at the brains of 3-year-old children, scientists could already see signs of potential trouble in the future. Raine discussed this research Monday at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Washington.

Those who had poor amygdala function at that time were more likely to become criminal offenders later in life, in the 20-year time span during which the scientists followed them. The amygdala is an almond-shaped brain area associated with fear, and it appears that a trend among offenders is that fear conditioning is impaired. Researchers did not directly measure amygdala function in a brain scanner, but used the children's fear responses to an anticipated punishment as a proxy for that.

In fact, adult psychopaths appear to have an 18% reduction of the volume of the amygdala compared with non-psychopaths. This difference might explain why psychopaths lack remorse, fear and guilt. (Interestingly, white-collar criminals actually show enhanced brain function in decision-making and other cognitive skills, according to Raine's unpublished research).

He also noted that a brain region called the orbital frontal cortex tends to be associated with being antisocial when its volume is smaller; as a group, men have a smaller orbital frontal cortex than women, which may help explain why men as a whole tend to commit more crimes than women.

Raine is not saying that this is a perfect predictive tool; it's not going to point to which individual child is going to commit a crime. Moreover, all of the data he reports is correlational, meaning he hasn't proven that these brain abnormalities cause criminal behavior. But it doesn't seem to make as much sense to think that living a criminal lifestyle would cause impaired fear conditioning, as it would the other way around, he said.

There is also evidence that what psychologists call "callous-unemotional traits" in childhood are risk factors for becoming a psychopath. Such traits include a lack of guilt about wrongdoings, absence of feelings or emotions, unhelpfulness to someone in need and unkindness to other children.

New research in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, also presented at the conference, looked at more than 9,500 children when they were ages 7, 9 and 12 from the United Kingdom's Twin Early Development Study. Researchers led by Natalie Fontaine at Indiana University showed that children who had hyperactivity, peer problems and emotional problems at 12 years old tended to have had increased levels of such callous-unemotional traits and conduct problems earlier in childhood.

Because participants were twins, the researchers were also able to look at genetics, and found a strong heritability for boys with high levels of persistent callous-unemotional traits. For girls with these traits that did not change much over time, environmental factors seemed to be more important.

We can look at these associations, but biology and genetics are not destiny. There will never be a perfectly accurate predictor of who will grow up to be an offender, Raine said. And 80% of delinquent adolescents do not continue to offend in adulthood, said Dustin Pardini of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

But by better understanding how these behaviors developed, early interventions can be adjusted to specific needs, Fontaine said.

The question from all of this becomes: If psychopaths are the way they are because of brain abnormalities or genetic influences already apparent in childhood, and should they be punished as to the same degree as other criminals?

And if they should get special treatment, "Is that not a slippery slope toward Armageddon, where none of us are responsible for our actions, because all actions and behaviors come from our brain?" Raine said.

The extent to which biological factors should play a role in the justice system is an open and highly controversial question, as is the extent to which biological interventions should be developed to reduce crime, Raine said. Preliminary research has shown that omega-3 may reduce criminal offending in prison; this is just one line of future inquiry.

What do you think: If neurological and genetic factors out of a person's control contribute to criminal offending, do we need to rethink how they are punished? If we punish people to deter others from committing crimes, does that make sense if psychopaths aren't afraid of the consequences of their actions anyway? Share your thoughts in the comments.


soundoff (964 Responses)
  1. rv repair chino

    I’m impressed, I have to admit. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s both equally educative and amusing, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something which too few men and women are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy I found this during my hunt for something concerning this.

    https://www.khazin.ru/redirect?url=https://www.ocrvcenter.com/motorhome-interior-remodeling-near-me/

    May 24, 2021 at 16:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. game sky1388

    I was curious if you ever thought of changing the page layout of your site?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect
    with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or
    two pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

    my web page – game sky1388

    May 24, 2021 at 20:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. truck shop

    http://www.etracker.com/lnkcnt.php?et=qPKGYV&url=http://www.193.112.126.197/member.asp?page=24927

    May 24, 2021 at 21:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. xe88sg.com

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this post
    and also the rest of the site is extremely good.

    my homepage: wukong333apk ios (xe88sg.com)

    May 24, 2021 at 21:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. RV Entertainment System California

    https://www.best-gyousei.com/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=1649&url=https://atormentador.com.br/index.php/2020/02/07/cachoeira-de-sangue-na-antartida/

    May 24, 2021 at 22:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Forklift Repair Shop Orange County

    Good post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It's always exciting to read articles from other writers and use something from other sites.

    https://www.newsletter.viamedica.pl/lt.php?c=1282&m=2481&nl=6&lid=20647&l=https://forkliftswildwestlifttrucks.com/electric-pallet-jack-forklift-repair-orange-county-california/

    May 24, 2021 at 23:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. New Forklift For Sale California

    You need to take part in a contest for one of the best sites on the internet. I am going to recommend this site!

    https://domaindirectory.com/policypage/privacypolicy?domain=forkliftswildwestlifttrucks.com/walk-behind-forklift-repair-orange-county-california/

    May 24, 2021 at 23:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Forklift Repair California

    A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment. I think that you need to publish more on this issue, it might not be a taboo matter but typically folks don't speak about these subjects. To the next! Best wishes!!

    https://www.saisoncard.co.jp/cgi-bin/count.cgi?pal=632,632&url=https://forkliftswildwestlifttrucks.com/genie-forklift-repair-orange-county-california/

    May 25, 2021 at 00:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. SEO Marketing Service

    Having read this I thought it was rather enlightening. I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this article together. I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

    http://www.new-orleans.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 25, 2021 at 02:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Google Marketing Companies

    http://directory.vnews.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=https://affordableranking.com

    May 25, 2021 at 02:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Digital Marketing Consultant

    I could not refrain from commenting. Perfectly written!

    https://esdlife.com/goto.asp?url=www.postfallswebsites.com/

    May 25, 2021 at 03:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. game lpe88 download

    Having read this I thought it was rather informative.
    I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this informative
    article together. I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and leaving comments.
    But so what, it was still worthwhile!

    Also visit my web page: game lpe88 download

    May 25, 2021 at 03:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Used Forklift Parts California

    Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It's always interesting to read through articles from other authors and practice something from their sites.

    https://mitsui-shopping-park.com/lalaport/ebina/redirect.html?url=https://forkliftswildwestlifttrucks.com/gradall-forklift-repair-orange-county-california

    May 25, 2021 at 03:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Xe88 Company

    Asking questions are truly nice thing if you are not understanding anything fully, however this post provides pleasant understanding yet.

    Here is my web blog :: Xe88 Company

    May 25, 2021 at 05:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Internet Marketing Firm

    https://www.aftermath-music.com/click.php?bid=16&url=http://www.affordableranking.com/

    May 25, 2021 at 09:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Video Marketing Business

    http://www.specialneedsuk.org/urllink.asp?url=http://affordableranking.com

    May 25, 2021 at 10:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. download slot game 918kiss 2

    You actually make it appear so easy with your presentation however I
    to find this topic to be actually something which
    I think I would never understand. It sort of feels too complex and
    very large for me. I am taking a look ahead to your next submit, I'll
    try to get the hang of it!

    Visit my web blog ... download slot game 918kiss 2

    May 25, 2021 at 10:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Internet Marketing Service

    https://mjpappas.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 25, 2021 at 11:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Video Marketing Services

    Having read this I believed it was rather informative. I appreciate you spending some time and energy to put this informative article together. I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

    http://r.pikicast.com/s?fr=&t=Q5me3do&m=ot&c=uk&v=crd&url=http://www.affordableranking.com

    May 25, 2021 at 11:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Internet Marketing Mechanics

    Greetings! Very useful advice within this article! It's the little changes that produce the most important changes. Thanks for sharing!

    http://classifiedsmanitoba.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 25, 2021 at 12:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Local Marketing Near Me

    I blog often and I really appreciate your information. This great article has really peaked my interest. I'm going to take a note of your website and keep checking for new details about once per week. I opted in for your RSS feed as well.

    https://www.smartcalltech.co.za/fanmsisdn?id=22&url=https://www.affordableranking.com/

    May 25, 2021 at 12:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Internet Marketing Firm

    Very nice article. I definitely appreciate this website. Stick with it!

    http://emoney.ge/index.php/main/twitter?redirect=http://www.affordableranking.com

    May 25, 2021 at 12:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Lionking888 Android download

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thanks, However I am experiencing problems with your RSS.
    I don't understand why I am unable to subscribe to it.

    Is there anybody getting the same RSS problems?
    Anyone that knows the answer can you kindly respond?
    Thanks!!

    My web site – Lionking888 Android download

    May 25, 2021 at 14:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. kiosk 918kiss plus

    Good day! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with
    SEO? I'm trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I'm not seeing very good success.

    If you know of any please share. Appreciate it!

    My page: kiosk 918kiss plus

    May 25, 2021 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. gallery xnxx

    /

    May 25, 2021 at 23:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. trailer service near me

    https://pixel.sitescout.com/iap/ca50fc23ca711ca4?cookieQ=1&r=https://galeriedialogue.com/mmg-gallery/comment-page-70/

    May 26, 2021 at 00:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. i love138

    Excellent beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your web site,
    how can i subscribe for a blog website? The account helped
    me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright
    clear idea

    Also visit my web-site :: i love138

    May 26, 2021 at 00:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. RV Wraps Los Angeles

    This blog was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something which helped me. Thanks a lot!

    http://ycaistock.com/home/link.php?url=totaberlustig.com/bitteabtreten_kurz/

    May 26, 2021 at 00:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. rv renovations near me

    /

    May 26, 2021 at 01:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RV Wraps Los Angeles

    Hello! I could have sworn I’ve visited this website before but after going through many of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m certainly pleased I came across it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back often!

    /

    May 26, 2021 at 01:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. RV Maintenance Los Angeles

    I seriously love your blog.. Great colors & theme. Did you build this web site yourself? Please reply back as I’m planning to create my own personal website and want to know where you got this from or what the theme is named. Thanks!

    http://www.click.dsp.com/c?type=2&db=mediav&pub=120013_527433_1050746&cus=172_663_12717020_63096188_63096188000&url=http://www.neanarchist.net/event/best-ways-choose-most-effective-luxury-rv-collision-accident-company

    May 26, 2021 at 03:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. RV Collision Repair Orange County

    http://toplink.miliweb.net/out-16961.php?web=https://bewara.co/remodel-kitchen-near-me.html

    May 26, 2021 at 04:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. RV Remodel Near Me

    Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon everyday. It will always be exciting to read articles from other writers and use something from their websites.

    https://www.sys.labaq.com/cli/go.php?s=lbac&p=1410jt&t=02&url=https://irenealdridge.com/ia/2017/09/15/real-time-risk-why-we-all-need-to-study-big-data/

    May 26, 2021 at 08:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. solar panel installation orange county

    http://www.proteinaute.com/lib/request/redirect.php?url=https://ocrvshop.com/class-a-collision-repair-shop-near-me

    May 26, 2021 at 12:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. nearest rv repair

    After exploring a handful of the blog articles on your site, I seriously appreciate your technique of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back in the near future. Take a look at my website too and tell me your opinion.

    https://www.coloradoballet.org/Redirect.aspx?destination=https://ocrv.rocks/motorhome-shades-repair-near-me

    May 26, 2021 at 13:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RV Frame Riverside

    This is a good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise info… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!

    https://www.provenceweb.fr/immobilier/compte_clicks_web.php?id=&web=https://ocrvcenter.org/tractor-truck-collision-repair-shop-near-me

    May 26, 2021 at 13:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Dodge Sprinter Repair

    I must thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this website. I am hoping to view the same high-grade content by you later on as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own, personal website now 😉

    http://www.historisches-festmahl.de/go.php?url=https://commercialrepairshop.com/leisure-travel-van-repair-shop-near-me

    May 26, 2021 at 15:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RV Interior Designer Los Angeles

    https://www.stenaline.co.uk/affiliate_redirect.aspx?affiliate=tradedoubler&url=https://ocrv.rocks/rv-repair-shop-orange-county-california

    May 26, 2021 at 15:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. RV Inspection California

    http://cn.onkyo.com/2018newsite/newonkyo.html?url=https://ocrvshop.com/motorhome-shower-repair-near-me

    May 26, 2021 at 16:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Tires Los Angeles

    This site really has all the info I wanted about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

    http://genki365.net/gnka01/common/redirect.php?url=https://ocrvexperts.com/bucket-truck-collision-repair-shop-near-me

    May 26, 2021 at 17:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. RV Steps Near Me

    Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular article! It is the little changes that will make the largest changes. Many thanks for sharing!

    http://www.ric.edu/Pages/link_out.aspx?target=https://ocrvmotorsports.com/commercial-vehicle-collision-repair-shop-near-me

    May 26, 2021 at 22:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Johanna Kwang

    https://dealers.webasto.com/UnauthorizedAccess.aspx?Result=denied&Url=https://quotenearme.com/

    May 27, 2021 at 03:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. fiberglass panels for rv repair

    Very good info. Lucky me I recently found your site by accident (stumbleupon). I've book-marked it for later!

    https://store.law.com/linkredirector/default.asp?lrcat=BLOGNetwork&lrurl=https://ocrv.rocks/water-truck-collision-repair-shop-near-me

    May 27, 2021 at 07:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Video Marketing Company

    http://aurora.network/redirect?url=internetmarketingwashington.com/

    May 27, 2021 at 08:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. RV Blinds Near Me

    http://www.toolsir.com/alexa/siteinfo/ocrv.world/business-vehicle-collision-repair-shop-near-me

    May 27, 2021 at 10:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. rv parts and service near me

    I'd like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this site. I'm hoping to see the same high-grade content by you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own website now 😉

    http://yellowpages.uticaod.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrv.pro/rv-repair-shop-toluca-lake-california

    May 27, 2021 at 10:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. auto body paint shops near me

    http://keyscan.cn.edu/AuroraWeb/Account/SwitchView?returnUrl=https://ocrv.world/horse-trailer-collision-repair-shop-near-me

    May 27, 2021 at 12:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. RV Countertops Los Angeles

    There's definately a great deal to know about this issue. I really like all the points you made.

    http://rd.fresheye.com/opg/web/1/?go=https://ocrv.me/motorhome-tire-repair-near-me

    May 27, 2021 at 13:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. RV Tires Orange County

    https://www.theweddingsecret.co.uk/BusinessClickthroughs/add?website=https://ocrvmotorsports.com/rv-repair-shop-norco-california

    May 27, 2021 at 13:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. RV Countertops Near Me

    Very good post. I will be experiencing many of these issues as well..

    https://historyhub.history.gov/external-link.jspa?url=https://ocrvart.com/rv-repair-shop-lake-view-terrace-california

    May 27, 2021 at 18:14 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.