Recent Science Discoveries, 2000

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

Antisocial Brain Tissue Deficit
And other recent science discoveries

by Otto Johnson

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How antisocial brain tissue affects menUNIV. OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA RESEARCHERS studied 21 men who were all diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD), which is characterized by irresponsibility, deceitfulness, impulsiveness, irritability, lack of emotional depth and conscience, and lifelong antisocial behavior. All of the subjects had committed serious violent crimes.

Fewer Nerve Cells

Using brain-imaging techniques, researchers found that the antisocial men had an 11%—14% reduction in the volume of nerve cells in the prefrontal cortex compared to normal males.

The Prefrontal Cortex

The prefrontal cortex is the brain's foremost outer portion, located right behind the eyes. This region seems to house the mental machinery that enables most people to learn moral sensibilities and to exercise self-restraint.

Physical Abnormality To Blame?

Previous research has shown that convicted murderers and other violent offenders have poor functioning in that region. The new findings demonstrate that a physical abnormality may underlie the poor functioning in these violent antisocial men and that society may have to rethink how it regards violent crime, punishment, and the scope of free will.