Researchers collaborating since 1985 have come
up with a new model for the causes, prevention and treatment
of anti-social behaviors related to crimes. It is known as neurocriminology.
This discipline combines criminology
The research included in neurocriminology looks
into the areas of:
- emotion and cognition
- cognition and anti-social behavior
- emotional values
- social cognitive neuroscience
- automatic feeling and thinking
This model assumes that even disadvantaged individuals
can develop pro-social thinking, along with proper behavior
skills, in an effort designed to help them choose a pro-social
Your brain was developed during the period before
you were born, as well as in your childhood. It's not solely
dependent on genes, but rather on your environment, as well.
Many neural connections come about because of your social experiences.
They direct thoughts, emotions and behavior unless you develop
The cells that network in your brain store and
utilize information from the activities you do, in addition
to input from observations and other experiences. Your brain
was affected in childhood by experiential and environmental
factors, and in this way the brain records the past and integrates
what you have learned into the present and future.
If your brain is exposed to adverse conditions
during your growth period, that can affect it in the long term.
The problems in society may result in risk factors for crime.
Children who show anti-social behavior have been studied and
found to have been raised in an environment of hostility, poverty,
abuse or other failures of parents and others.
Your brain can change its thought patterns, to
a degree. It makes new connections as experiences change, or
reinforces older connections if conditions persist. Research
in neurocriminology identifies the risk factors for anti-social
behavior, as well as factors that lead people to pro-social
behavior. Through these findings, we learn that we can help
anti-social individuals as they work to develop more pro-social
Early criminological risk factors can possibly
be overcome by later, positive experiences recorded by the brain.
The trajectory of your brain may go from anti-social to pro-social
after a lifelong of experiences. If you have enough positive
experiences, you may develop a brain that leans more to the
An offender rehabilitation program once based
on a simpler model will need to be revised to accommodate the
neurocriminology model. We can teach offenders cognitive skills
that will allow them to fight more pressures towards anti-social
behavior. The programs in use have proven to be effective in
helping to give the brain a pro-social stance, which lessens
the chance of further crimes. There are limits to its possible
The newer programs being implemented as part of offender rehabilitation
use specific techniques that may be able to foster pro-social
development of the brain. There are different programs for specific
groups of offenders, and there is also a program in place for
youth that are at risk for anti-social behavior and crime. This
would be a further positive step for neurocriminology, since
it would work to pre-empt the number of crimes in the future.