More on the criminal brain: Nature vs. nurture
February 28th, 2011
12:49 PM ET

More on the criminal brain: Nature vs. nurture

Whether a criminal's nature is biologically ingrained, and perhaps even inherited, is a highly controversial notion that's now getting serious scientific attention. We had a flood of questions and comments last week about recent research on the topic, which shows that it may be possible to predict which children are likely to become criminals or psychopaths based on brain anatomy and genetics.

Adrian Raine, psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, is conducting some fascinating experiments to figure out the brain signatures of criminal behavior, and what kinds of interventions might prevent people from ever becoming offenders. I posed some of your questions, and my own, to him, after we all had more time to think critically about the issues.

If there are these genetic and biological influences on crime, to what extent are factors like parenting important?

More than a hundred studies have shown that about half of crime is, on some level, under genetic control. That also means that environmental factors such as parenting, abuse, poverty, discrimination and unemployment account for the other half, Raine said. So, the "nurture" part of the picture is just as important as the "nature." For the past several decades, research into criminology has focused solely on the environment story. "If we want to stop crime, if we want to be able to understand the causes and develop treatment programs to attack the causes, we really need to understand all the pieces," Raine said.

What distinguishes repeat offenders from criminals in remission, who may not commit any more crimes?

Research on young offenders has shown that some offenders who haven't committed a crime in four years still have the same brain functional abnormalities as repeat offenders. But this is another example of how important environment can be, Raine said. Those who don't continue committing crimes may have a loving mother or father, or a wonderful teacher who suddenly becomes a role model, or a strong romantic relationship, Raine said. "Falling in love, getting engaged, getting married, that can do a great deal to take someone off the biological path," he said.

"The environment can change the brain, and even though you’ve got these risk factors, they’re not destiny," he said. "Maybe it's the balance of the risk vs. protective factors which is actually the most important thing. We haven't really done that research, and we need to."

What are some possible interventions for children who have risk factors for criminal behavior?

An enriching environment can go a long way in helping young children. Raine's group conducted a study with 3-year-olds in which half of the kids received a two-year program of better nutrition - including two-and-a-half extra portions of fish per week, more physical exercise every day, and educational activities. Then, the study authors followed up with the kids for 20 years. At age 11, the kids who had been randomly assigned to the enrichment program from ages 3 to 5 showed greater attention and signs of having more mature brains. At age 23, researchers found a 36% reduction in criminal offending in the kids who had done the early enrichment.

"It's never too early, and it's never too late," he said. "We can tackle and change these biological risk factors for crime and violence."

There have been more than 45 randomized, controlled experimental trials on using medications with aggressive children, and generally they seem to work - some better than others, Raine said. It appears that certain antipsychotics, antidepressants and anticonvulsants can help, but many parents don't want to put their kids on these kinds of treatments.

That's why Raine's group is looking at omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil, as a means of boosting brain power and combating antisocial behavior and aggression in children. Omega-3 has been shown to reduce serious offending among prisoners in two experiments, one in England and one in the Netherlands.

Your research has shown that abnormal fear responses in children may foreshadow later psychopathy or criminal behavior. But what about iconoclasts, people who have distinguished themselves by not being afraid to challenge norms and expectations?

These people who put forward great ideas that go against the grain are courageous, but that doesn't mean to say that they don't feel worried or anxious about what the backlash could be. They have a firm belief that something is right, and feel it's their duty to put it forward. Emotion informs decision-making, and people who lack emotions are psychopathic and make bad decisions.

"A certain degree of anticipatory fear is actually good. It's when you lack that that you make awful life decisions, bad decisions, take awful risks and end up in prison," Raine said.

Do psychopaths know the difference between right and wrong?

They know right from wrong, Raine said, but they lack the feeling for what is wrong. When confronted with moral dilemmas, most people get worried, and those emotions helps inform the judgment. An experiment looking at brain activity during ethical conundrums found that the amygdala, a brain region critical to fear response and emotion, is not as active when psychopaths are thinking about moral dilemmas, compared with non-psychopaths. Interestingly, psychopaths' answers to those questions don't differ from other people's; it's just that their brains aren't showing the same emotional response.

"The law is predicated on the cognitive component of 'do you know right from wrong?' That was fine 800 years ago, as a rule to guide us in punishment, and innocence-guilt," he said. "But now I think we have to ask, do people have the emotional ability to make the right moral decision? That's the question I'm raising for the judicial system and the legal system."

soundoff (966 Responses)
  1. JoeyMazaor

    What an idiotic article. What is even the premise of a "criminal"? Do we label politicians who lie criminals? A martyr in one culture is a terrorist in another. If someone steals so they don't starve, are they are a criminal or survivalist? Where does the amygdala rate for the shoplifter who can't afford diapers for her baby? Does someone who enjoys hunting have a "criminally" homicidal brain structure but simply a healthy outlet? They should give the money back for this study until they establish a universally accepted baseline of so-called "criminality".

    February 28, 2011 at 14:39 | Report abuse | Reply

      Agree with Joey here, Criminality is definitely a social concept that changes with culture and time.

      February 28, 2011 at 15:13 | Report abuse |
    • Jeremy

      Joey - I take it you've read the entire study, read alternative studies, and possibly run your own clinical trials to give you the expertise necessary to judge whether or not this group is "worthy" of their funding?

      Oh? No? You haven't done any of that? You're just an armchair expert? Maybe you should learn when to shut up.

      February 28, 2011 at 15:34 | Report abuse |
    • Wadestr

      From what I have read and by looking at the comments shown here, I do beliven that Jeremy is most likely a criminal through genetics.

      February 28, 2011 at 15:48 | Report abuse |
    • stormsun

      Sorry, Joey, but you are missing the point. About 3 – 5% of the population (According to Dr. Robert Hare, an expert on the subject) meet the definition of psychopathy. These are people who act and appear normal, who are often very persuasive, who may even be highly intelligent. But they are not "normal," they are not like the rest of us, in a very dangerous way - they have no empathy for others and no conscience for doing harm to others. If you haven't dealt with one, you are lucky. Con men like Bernie Madoff, are often psychopaths. Some are violent and enjoy inflicting pain, dramatized in the movies over and over again. But they aren't all Hannibal Lecter; some satisfy themselves with stealing your money or breaking your heart. Many abusive, over-controlling husbands may in fact fall in this category, especially the ones that cut off their wives from family and friends and contantly humiliate and degrade their wives. Unless it can be shown that these folks have committed a crime that can be proven in court, however, they often get away with inflicting misery on those around them for decades.

      February 28, 2011 at 16:34 | Report abuse |
    • LEB

      You actually unintentionally agreed with the last point of the article... that the basis of the law is having distinctions of "right" vs "wrong," but that right and wrong is often subjective, and that those who are doing something "wrong" may not feel or rationally agree that their actions are wrong. To use your example, the mother who steals diapers for her baby. She probably knows that theft is wrong, but that depriving her child is basic needs is even more wrong. So which "wrong" is more valid... causing a store-owner lose money, or depriving a baby of basic needs?

      There never will be any "universally accepted baseline" to what is wrong, because EVERY matter of morality and legality has an exception. This article, however, is not one one ethics within the practice of law or criminal legislation, it's about starting to recognize some of the early causes of criminality BEFORE individuals become prone to criminal behavior. If signs of abnormal social behavior are observed in childhood, it's not a guarantee that that child will become a criminal... but even so, early interventions might not just prevent later criminality, but will also quite likely improve the quality of that child's life. No kid likes feeling like an outcast, or like no one understands them. If therapies/enrichment programs can help a struggling child feel "normal," then I certainly don't see the harm.

      February 28, 2011 at 19:49 | Report abuse |
    • Jones

      Non-sense. All violence and crime is derived for a persons environment and that has been proven. Yes some people are genetically pre-disposed to violence but violence never occurs in subjects that are never subjected to violence in the first place. The people who run this world would love for us to believe that they can predict criminal behavior through genetics but it's not real science.

      February 28, 2011 at 20:18 | Report abuse |
  2. wrongconclusions

    Joey, I counldn't agree more. It's a ridiculous artcle on ridiculous science.

    February 28, 2011 at 14:52 | Report abuse | Reply

    First it is probably true that DNA influences criminal behavior. But if the person knows of his genetic flaw he can take steps to be on guard against it. Smilarly, studies have shown that certain ethnic groups are more susceptable to alchoholism because of their DNA structure. Genesis 16:12 notes another DNA disposition in Ishmael's line (Arabs). It explains their violent irrational behavior and justifies why Arab countries require repressive dictatorships to be successfully governed.

    February 28, 2011 at 15:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CalgarySandy

      Racist. You should be ashamed of yourself. If you knew right from wrong and had adequate emotional response you would have known not to say something like this.

      February 28, 2011 at 15:21 | Report abuse |
    • ellid

      Genesis 16:12 does nothing of the sort. The ancient Israelites had no knowledge of DNA, which would not be discovered for almost 3,000 years. You are citing Scripture to justify your own prejudices.


      February 28, 2011 at 15:57 | Report abuse |
    • Everyone is an expert

      Actually, there is fairly clear evidence that there is a biological bases to all behavior, including violence and aggression (better terms to use compared to criminality).

      November 9, 2014 at 19:17 | Report abuse |
  4. The guy next door

    I am a psychopath. Only after being married a few years did my criminal urges subside and I was able to curtail my antisocial behavior, for the most part. However, after I realized I was a psychopath, I was able to come to terms with why I felt little empathy towards others and only regretted my actions when caught. It can be quite liberating to live outside of societal norms. Personally, I believe a frontal head injury, a predicting factor, at the age of 2 changed my brain chemistry.

    February 28, 2011 at 15:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Anthony

    To be a Great business man in this world you kind of have to be a great liar. What is good business? What is bad business? Or is business in general the very thing that will make a person that much more manipulative? Perhaps the very system we have devised that is the very thing that makes the selected "criminals" turn to crime. Money is crime, and because we refuse to imagine a world without it there will always be crime. We live in a world where problems are created to make temporary solutions. We need to wake up, and see the truth, and stop living in made up concepts. We are here to be, and nothing else. If being here is not enough, and you think that there's something you can gain other then this moment you clearly enjoy suffering. People have been so distracted for so long. Its time to wake up, and realize what ultimate freedom is, and thats letting go of the things you identify with, and embracing the forever providing moment. Wake up to the love, and light we are.

    February 28, 2011 at 15:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Chris

    I think the article is fascinating, however I do not believe someone should be allowed to get away with a crime because their cognitive component doesn't work correctly. If they do the crime they guilty. Just like if an alcoholic drinks and kills someone they are guilty.

    February 28, 2011 at 15:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CalgarySandy

      No one said they should get away with anything. What kind of fear monger are you to have put this twist on the story? The story is clearly about helping people avoid criminal behavior by intervening early.

      It is not mentioned in the story but genetic predisposition is at the root of many if not all mental illnesses like depression, bi-polar disorder, panic disorder. These and others are rarely violent except possibly to themselves. Given a loving and safe upbringing and crisis free early life these may never manifest. Given a brutal and abusive childhood or major trauma they can come forth. I am such a one. If trauma keeps happening and it easily can if you are living with a terrible disease the problems increase. A good and safe life with adequate health care can ease the pain.

      Often parents of mentally ill and unruly children worsen the situation by abusing them and denying them help. They don't want anyone to know there is mental illness in their family. My family did this to me and still deny it though I am disabled and 62 years old. I have fought the battle all my life with no familial support and little help with the recalcitrant medical problems. Now that some understanding is coming forth I am feeling that, even if I do not get better, they will find ways to help children and parents will not poo poo the whole thing and force their children into a living h3ll.

      I don't understand why people who have nothing to do with any of this are so nasty. Your level of ignorance and bigotry is very unfortunate especially as 1 in 5 people has some kind of mental health problem. You want to get rid of the findings of science for what? What good can possibly come of trying to find out the whys so they can determine how to stop or ease the symptoms. It has been known for years that psychopathology and socio-pathology are likely at least partly genetic with how they are treated being the tipping point. This article is not news; it is further information in a study that has been going on for a long time. fMRIs have allowed the theory to be seen at first hand in the brain.

      February 28, 2011 at 15:36 | Report abuse |
    • LEB

      I don't really think that the alcoholic comparison is an apt one. A more apt comparison might be someone who was bipolar but had never been diagnosed had been given a medication that triggered a manic episode, in which they were not entirely in control of their actions. The law does not generally abdicate the individual of responsibility in such a scenario, but it is taken into account when the sentence is delivered. For example, a person in such a situation might be ordered to a mandatory treatment program with charges reduced to a misdemeanor rather than being sent to jail.

      If someone committed a crime and it could be proven that they had a health condition which impaired their ability to make a sound judgment, then recognizing this and issuing a lesser sentence may be the best possible option. Why? Because if the individual learns the source of their behavior and is made to get treatment, then it's quite possibly that they will have a greatly reduced possibility of re-offending. If they are thrown in jail and never treated, then the likelihood of re-offending is quite high. Without treating the source of the problem, the problem is still there.

      Of course, this would mostly apply to minor crimes, though in an ideal world, figuring out why people commit minor crimes and correcting the problem would, in theory, go a long way in preventing far more serious crimes.

      February 28, 2011 at 20:00 | Report abuse |
    • Everyone is an expert

      Actually there is a difference between cognition/cognitive factors and biological factors. Cognition involves attention, memory, language, judgement, problem solving, and other mental processes. Biological factors, more specifically, neurological factors, includes more of the structure and function of the brain and neurochemistry.

      November 9, 2014 at 19:20 | Report abuse |
  7. content_pessimist

    If science discovered how to find the DNA that made people more prone to violence, it would be hidden from society because it would probably point more often to certain groups and races of people. It would be too politically incorrect so don’t waste all the time and money.

    February 28, 2011 at 15:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jeepers

      Also, the most powerful people in the world are probably sociopaths...which they'd probably rather keep under wraps.

      February 28, 2011 at 18:21 | Report abuse |
  8. jorge washinsen

    A busy mind is a healthy mind until parents stick a Blackberry or a computer in a kids face to keep them out of their hair.They only know what someone puts on the internet which most of the time is opinions.

    February 28, 2011 at 15:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. It's Just Me

    Interesting. My son is much like you.
    Were you diagnosed by a professional? Can you give me any advice to pass on to my son? He will be 31 next month – still has done nothing with his life, no skills, no family of his own, no home, just a manipulating liar.

    February 28, 2011 at 15:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TheLeftCoast

      I recommend the book "The Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout.

      February 28, 2011 at 19:40 | Report abuse |
    • The Guy Next Door

      Appears that CNN blocked my more in depth response. I am diagnosed, self aware and thriving. I use my personality quite effectively in my chosen profession. It takes work.

      February 28, 2011 at 20:09 | Report abuse |
    • Everyone is an expert

      Psychopathy is not a psychiatric or medical diagnosis; it is merely a cluster of personality characteristics. So, you cannot be diagnosed with it.

      November 9, 2014 at 19:22 | Report abuse |
  10. Dr. Buster Bloodvessel

    Well, if they do criminal acts, it's already too late. Maybe if the grownups acted better the kids would learn from them?

    February 28, 2011 at 16:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Jakobee

    The best place to nurture criminals is Wallstreet.

    February 28, 2011 at 17:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Jakobee

    i am a retard

    February 28, 2011 at 18:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. psvalet

    I do find the article fascinating. After working as a nurse for 14 yrs and taking care of head injury patients, its true they become aggressive and mean. I have a half brother that was hit in the back of the head by an escaped mental patient. He was sitting with his girlfriend in upper class BH in broad daylight. They were both injured, and almost died. My brother is currently in jail for assaulting 2 police officers, his life will never be the same. He was raised on a wealthy, loving, nuturing home. It is a subject that merits research since up till now we know very little about what motivates crime.

    February 28, 2011 at 18:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Why oh why?

      What does "wealthy" have to do with anything? Why do wealthy people like to constantly point out the things they buy, the money they spend on their children, the money they give their children? Just curious.

      March 1, 2011 at 03:30 | Report abuse |
    • JeramieH

      Wealthy implies they didn't suffer from the hardships associated with families in poverty.

      March 1, 2011 at 16:32 | Report abuse |
  14. James I. Mealy

    It's amazing that so many are offended by this research. While I might agree that the research does not finalize this complex question and will never explain all criminal activity, it is still worthwhile to try and understand the underlying causes that may predispose people to anti social criminal activity. I would be willing to bet that there are a number of distinct groups of people that have personality traits that predispose then to crime. I would also be willing to guess that those traits have nothing to do with race or ethnicity.

    February 28, 2011 at 19:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Everyone is an expert

      Even Dr. Raine states that biology doesn't mean destiny and that other factors do play an influence. People are just worried that neurosience and more specifically neurocriminology is "excusing" peoples violent and aggressive behaviors; which is absurd.

      November 9, 2014 at 19:31 | Report abuse |
  15. Justina

    Mothers stay home and care for kids. Let man support his family as he should. Limit the electric intake. Go to church every Sunday together as a family. Most problem solved for kids.

    February 28, 2011 at 23:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. YounanMarketingAndManagementAssociatesInc, Int'l Intst'r

    From all the evidence i've gathered, i can conclude that more than 70% of the world's population have a criminal thinking leaning brain, but it isn't anything genetic, it's something conditioned into the character and emotions. theresa noelle younan ymma-iii i-pic interpole galactica

    March 1, 2011 at 01:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. YounanMarketingAndManagementAssociatesInc, Int'l Intst'r

    yes as you edited out, people are too combative on false grounds. because they play too much sports or watch too much sports and computer games. they go on in regular life clothing still playing games and thinking all life is a damn game. theresa noelle younan ymma-iii i-pic interpole galactica. i can't remember the other part you edited out quit stealing my postings damn you people

    March 1, 2011 at 01:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. YounanMarketingAndManagementAssociatesInc, Int'l Intst'r

    Major retraining is in order actually

    March 1, 2011 at 01:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. YounanMarketingAndManagementAssociatesInc, Int'l Intst'r

    Major retraining is in order actually, some do wrong in every kind of social interaction on every plane, some do it selectively but seems most are showing criminal disrespect and disregard for the right right decision making too often in daily life.

    March 1, 2011 at 01:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Emma

    I don't think this article is stupid at all. I'm shocked that more research on this subject hasn't been done up to this point. I believe that people who grow up around criminals have little understanding of the non-criminal lifestyle. They learn to be criminals and it's just easier to do what they already know, such as stealing cars. If you grow up around people who steal, drink or take drugs and generally make poor life decisions you will most likely end up doing the same things.

    I'm fascinated by this subject. Also, as a nursing mother, I have wondered what affect, if any, generations of formula fed babies has had on the crime rate. Strong bonding between mother and child takes place during nursing which is aided by the release of powerful hormones. Some bottle fed babies are propped up by their mothers, not even held. The interruption or complete blocking of the powerful bond that takes place when nursing combined with the baby not being held during bottle feedings is like a double blow to the level of brain development that could have taken place. Not to mention that babies deprived of breast milk don't benefit from the powerful brain building components found in human breast milk. Could this contribute to poorly developed brains that lack compassion and empathy for others? I have no proof and I'm not a scientist, expert or researcher but my guess is a big fat yes!

    March 1, 2011 at 03:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Everyone is an expert

      Research on biological bases of behavior has been going for a while now. The field of criminology is very resistant to such research, because many denies any psychological or biological basis to behavior, which is nonsense. The reason why research is occurring now more than ever is because we have only had good enough technology for this research for 5-10 years.

      November 9, 2014 at 19:34 | Report abuse |
  21. Ted

    Ted Bundy was a nice guy.

    March 1, 2011 at 04:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Psych Prof

    Sometimes the comments are as interesting as the article. Great article for talking about the scientific method and challenges of studying human because when we tend to over focus on environmental factors and then swing the way and over focus on hereditary factors. Also the question of how would/should the science (if we knew something definitive) shape policy and what would be the ethical and practical implications is important.

    March 1, 2011 at 08:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. syzito

    Murdering people for pleasure is not relative to whatever society you are living in.Killing innocent people is wrong and morally repugnant in any human society.

    March 1, 2011 at 08:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Jorge

    My son-in-law, who is studying psychology, recently enlightened me concerning scientific discoveries as to the inner workings of the sociopathic mind and it's inability to: 1. Empathise with the fear/anger/pain of others and- 2. Establish boundaries (a personal code of conduct) for the benefit of others.
    He also told me that modern science struggles with different strategies to socialize and bring control to the minds of sociopaths.
    Heck, after growing up in rough neighborhoods all my life, among good and bad characters of all kinds, I know that anybody same as me can tell you, sociopaths respond to PAIN, PAIN is the one great modifier for folks like this, because they know that if they slip up again, there will be more pain. Any inner city kid that has grown straight on the wrong side of the tracks knows that. A perv scares your sister, you introduce him to aluminum bats, he toes the line in the neighborhood. Same perv scares someone else's sister, he slides, he becomes a rapist.
    The shrinks should've come to us...

    March 1, 2011 at 09:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Grumpyoldlady

    I wonder if there isn't a population being left out of these studies. What about people who lack "emotional responses" to moral dilemmas and yet choose not to commit crimes? Lack of empathy does not equate to a desire – let alone a compulsion – to harm others. There must be thousands of people out there who don't respond emotionally like they "should" and yet either don't care enough about other people to harm them or choose to remain within the law based on calculation that the potential cost of committing a crime far outweighs whatever financial gain or transitory emotional benefit would be realized. Society never "sees" these people.

    I'm also disturbed by the idea that criminals can use this research as a defense, claiming that their genetic or environmental heritage has damaged them to the point of diminishing responsibility for their actions. It still comes down to choice. If you know right from wrong you have a duty to choose the right and consequences for choosing the wrong, and it doesn't – and shouldn't – matter one little bit what your emotions are.

    March 1, 2011 at 09:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • AL

      I could not agree more!

      March 1, 2011 at 12:02 | Report abuse |
  26. tw

    Interesting corralation study, not emperical but nonetheless important in raising the questions about the theory of criminalology and the on going debate of "nature vs nuture".... However after reading the comments it really highlights for me how a little bit of information can be as dangerous asno information at all... Facts miscontruced as emperical evidence; belief as truth; opinions as science.... History is filled with this sort of thing... And it often leads to the labeling and miseducation of people.. just one mans opinion.. take it with a grain of salt...

    March 1, 2011 at 10:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. FreDrtj

    Is anybody really innocent?

    March 1, 2011 at 11:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. duvexy

    Hey what happened to the diversity CNN? Why white kids? I know there are some white criminals but, if you are going to push this diversity crap you must go all the way. Show all the other criminals. You know the ones behind bards that only make up of 20 % population. Now is we are going to threat this a theory then we need to over turn the hate crime laws. It is not right to make someone a criminal based on theory.

    March 1, 2011 at 19:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. duvexy

    f there are these genetic and biological influences on crime, to what extent are factors like parenting important?

    More than a hundred studies have shown that about half of crime is, on some level, under genetic control. That also means that environmental factors such as parenting, abuse, poverty, discrimination and unemployment account for the other half, Raine said. So, the "nurture" part of the picture is just as important as the "nature." For the past several decades, research into criminology has focused solely on the environment story. "If we want to stop crime, if we want to be able to understand the causes and develop treatment programs to attack the causes, we really need to understand all the pieces," Raine said.

    Yeah throw it all in there. We will find someway to get these criminals off free. Oh so it is genetic? Amazing really? Yet they have no problem swallowing that, buy have a hard time swallowing DNA evidence of other races being superior then others?

    March 1, 2011 at 19:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. duvexy

    An enriching environment can go a long way in helping young children. Raine's group conducted a study with 3-year-olds in which half of the kids received a two-year program of better nutrition – including two-and-a-half extra portions of fish per week, more physical exercise every day, and educational activities.
    So, you are admitting they are using children as lab rats?
    Whats up with this?
    And, the pushing liberal indoctrination on them? What If they want to be fat like a pig?

    March 1, 2011 at 19:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. duvexy

    They know right from wrong, Raine said, but they lack the feeling for what is wrong.

    If you would allow their parents to discipline their children correctly without being intimated every time johnny put a needle in the electrical socket would improve a persons ability to know what the feeling of what is wrong is.

    March 1, 2011 at 19:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. duvexy

    "It's never too early, and it's never too late," he said. "We can tackle and change these biological risk factors for crime and violence."
    You need to stop and desist with treating our youth like lab rats.

    March 1, 2011 at 19:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. duvexy

    LOL then they finish it off with this.
    "The law is predicated on the cognitive component of 'do you know right from wrong?'
    Since when was using children as lab rats right?

    March 1, 2011 at 19:27 | Report abuse | Reply
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  36. Russell

    In reading the article and comments I notice that no one has mentioned the specific role of fathers in the moral development of children. There are statistics that revealed that over 80% of inmates in Texas prisons came from single parent homes, specifically homes that were absent of fathers. This article and others mention parenting as a contributing factor but stop short of asserting that the materanally headed, single parent home produces children more prone to crime. Other studies are not so timid and the studies that produced that the statistics from the Texas prisons hinted at a strong link between a male influence in the home contributing perhaps the greater share to the moral development of children, specifically young men. This absent paternal force is also seen in women in the form of greater divorce numbers, but I don't recall the details of that article well enough to reference specifics.

    May 3, 2013 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
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