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Behav Sci Law. 2008;26(6):691-707. doi: 10.1002/bsl.841.

Behavioral measures of impulsivity and the law.

Author information

  • 1Neurobehavioral Research Laboratory and Clinic, Department of Psychiatry, Mail Code 7792, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX 78229-3900, USA. mathias@uthscsa.edu

Abstract

The General Theory of Crime proposes that crime is explained by the combination of situational opportunity and lack of self-control. Impulsivity is one of the important components of self-control. Because behavioral measures of impulsivity are becoming more commonly utilized to assess forensic populations, this manuscript provides an overview of three current behavioral measures. In doing so, an example of their application is provided using a group of individuals likely to come into contact with the legal system: adolescents with Conduct Disorder. Earlier age of onset of Conduct Disorder symptoms has been shown to be an important predictor of the persistence of poor outcomes into adulthood, including participation in criminal activities. This study found differential behavioral profiles across distinct measures of impulsivity by those with childhood- versus adolescent-onset Conduct Disorder. Legal implications for defining behavioral deficits using behavioral measures of impulsivity and their current limitations are discussed.

PMID:
19039792
PMCID:
PMC3279729
DOI:
10.1002/bsl.841
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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