Neurosciences applied to the criminological study of crime

The human brain is such a complex and (almost) perfect thing that since the days of Hippocrates it has aroused curiosity. With the advancement of science and technology, neuroscience has gradually solved the puzzles of the wonderful human brain by trying to explain the why of human behavior, including phenomena as complex as crime.

Why does a man commit a crime? What motivates him to break the rules? Why doesn’t the idea of ​​being punished by the law scare you? As we share in a recent article, criminology is the science that seeks to answer the above questions for the purpose of studying antisocial behavior, which is what tears up and goes against the common good. But to study crime and anti-social behavior, criminology is based on various sciences and disciplines, including the aforementioned neurosciences.

Studies in the brains of criminals

One of the most famous cases that has been the subject of neurological studies focused on criminological purposes and which challenged concepts such as the offender’s free will and concepts such as bereavement and guilt dates back to 2003. . This year 40-year-old man who had never presented any sexual behavior disorder convicted of sexual harassment of minors.

The biological causes of antisocial behavior

A cerebral resonance in the subject showed hemangiopericitoma in the orbitofrontal region who, after being kidnapped, made the pedophile symptoms disappear, so he was granted freedom. It wasn’t until a year later that the fixation on minors began to revive. After another MRI, it was observed that the tumor had reappeared and again, after the surgery, the symptoms disappeared.

More studies linking brain dysfunction with antisocial personality disorder

Research debated by the American Society of Neurosciences suggests that there are deficits in specific brain structures that include areas related to empathy, fear of punishment, and ethics. among those who manifest an antisocial personality disorder.

Similar studies were presented by Adrian Rayne, neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania. This professor conducted an interesting study of 792 killers with antisocial personality disorder, finding that their cerebral prefrontal cortex was significantly smaller compared to another group that did not have an antisocial disorder. As if this flattery weren’t enough, it was also found that these individuals tend to show damage to brain structures related to the ability to make moral judgments. These regions were the amygdala and the angular gyrus.

Endocrinology at the service of criminology

Criminology is increasingly interested how the endocrine glands are linked to criminal behavior. For example: we know that when faced with a dangerous situation, we can react by paralyzing, fleeing or attacking. From the first option, we know that cortisol is primarily responsible for transmitting this stress response, but compared to the last two, adrenaline is responsible for preparing the body for these reactions.

It is known for sure that if an individual has a dysfunction (for example, as a result of trauma) that leads the individual’s adrenal glands to a higher production of adrenaline, the subject will have a particular tendency to adopt aggressive behaviors, as they could well be violent crimes and against physical integrity. When it comes to sex crimes, other studies conducted in the United States have found that inmates who have committed violent sex offenses have high levels of testosterone in their bodies compared to the rest of the prison population.

Eynseck and the theory of the excitation of psychological types

Hans Eynseck maintains that the nervous system of extroverts and introverts tends to one of two basic characteristics: Arousal and Inhibition by claiming that so-called extroverts are predisposed to inhibition while introverts to arousal, that is why the activities between each type usually compensate for their predisposition to stimuli.

For example, being an introvert more easily excitable, will tend to seek less urgent stimuli and therefore more calm and solitary activities; while the extrovert will have to seek out the stimulus given his natural inhibition. In his theory, he argues that extroverts are more prone to crime by being frequently on the lookout for arousing stimuli, but when an introvert takes the plunge, he can commit more serious crimes. In addition to noticing a tendency of the extrovert with sadism and psychopathy while the introvert has a tendency towards masochism and autism.

Are criminals born or created?

Faced with the eternal debate between sociologists, psychologists, biologists and other specialists in human behavior, criminology has chosen to solve this problem lowered the resolution the offender is the product both of the predisposition of his psychophysiological, genetic and individual characteristics and of the interaction between the social environment, anomie, culture, education, among others..

Therefore, to say that some neurobiological damage was the definitive cause of the commission of a crime would not only be concise but also inconclusive, because the subject needs a wide range of factors to consummate the crime, In addition to the opportunity, mobile, etc. It is the job of criminology to detect how much “force” a criminoimpelente neurological factor must have been the cause of the crime, in collaboration with the neurosciences which day after day reveal the secrets of the nervous system and the human brain.

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