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Prefrontal glucose deficits in murderers lacking psychosocial deprivation.

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1
Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 90089-1061, USA.

Abstract

Previous research has suggested that links between autonomic nervous system functioning and violence are strongest in those who come from benign home backgrounds, but there appears to be no similar research using brain-imaging measures of central nervous system functioning. It was hypothesized that murderers who had no early psychosocial deprivation (e.g., no childhood abuse, family neglect) would demonstrate lower prefrontal glucose metabolism than murderers with early psychosocial deprivation and a group of normal controls. Murderers from a previous study, which showed prefrontal deficits in murderers, were assessed for psychosocial deprivation and divided into those with and without deprivation. Murderers without any clear psychosocial deficits were significantly lower on prefrontal glucose metabolism than murderers with psychosocial deficits and controls. These results suggest that murderers lacking psychosocial deficits are characterized by prefrontal deficits. It is argued that among violent offenders without deprived home backgrounds, the "social push" to violence is minimized, and consequently, brain abnormalities provide a relatively stronger predisposition to violence in this group.

PMID:
9560822
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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