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The Psychopathology of Crime - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780125761550, 9780080572512

The Psychopathology of Crime

1st Edition

Criminal Behavior as a Clinical Disorder

Author: Adrian Raine
Paperback ISBN: 9780125761550
eBook ISBN: 9780080572512
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 1st May 1997
Page Count: 377
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This lauded bestseller, now available in paperback, takes an uncompromising look at how we define psychopathology and makes the argument that criminal behavior can and perhaps should be considered a disorder. Presenting sociological, genetic, neurochemical, brain-imaging, and psychophysiological evidence, it discusses the basis for criminal behavior and suggests, contrary to popular belief, that such behavior may be more biologically determined than previously thought.

Key Features

  • Presents a new conceptual approach to understanding crime as a disorder
  • Provides the most extensive review of biological predispositions to criminal behavior to date
  • Presents the practical implications of viewing crime as a psychopathology in the contexts of free will, punishment, treatment, and future biosocial research
  • Includes numerous tables and figures throughout
  • Contains an extensive reference list
  • Analyzes the familial and extra-familial causes of crime
  • Reviews the predispositions to crime including evolution and genetics, and the neuropsychological, psychophysiological, brain-imaging, neurochemical, and cognitive factors


Researchers, professors, graduate and advanced undergraduate students in sociology, social psychology/personality, clinical psychology, criminal justice, social work, cognition, and genetics.

Table of Contents

Preface. Chapter 1. Crime and the Nature of Psychopathology: Introduction. Defining Psychopathology. Overview of Definitions and Their Fit to Criminal Behavior. Construct Validity Approach to Psychopathology. Summary. Chapter 2. Crime in the Context of Evolution: Introduction. Concepts in Sociobiolical Theory. The Prisoners' Dilemma. Suckers, Cheats and Grudgers. The Survival of Cheats. Subtle Cheats. Anthropological Studies. Sociobiological Theories of Antisocial Personality Disorder. Rape and Homicide. Evaluation of Evolutionary Perspectives. Summary. Chapter 3. Genetics and Crime: Introduction. Ten Misconceptions about the Genetics of Crime. Twin Methodology. Evidence from Twin Studies. Limitations of Twin Studies. Identical Twins Reared Apart. Adoption Study Methodology. Evidence from Adoption Studies. Key Questions for Genetics Research on Crime. Summary. Chapter 4. Neurochemistry: General Introduction. Introduction to Neurotransmitters. Drug Manipulation of Neurotransmitters in Humans. Meta-analysis of Neurotransmitter Levels in Antisocial Populations. Discussion of Key Findings. Integration of Neurochemical Research with Existing Perspectives on Antisocial Behavior. Recommendations for Future Neurochemical Research. Summary. Chapter 5. Neuropsychology: General Introduction. Introduction to Neuropsychology. Limitations in the Application of Neuropsychological Methods to Crime. Frontal Dysfunction. Left Hemisphere Dysfunction. Reduced Lateralization for Linguistic Functions. Other Brain Sites and Crime. Psychosurgery and Crime. Conceptual Issues in Neuropsychological Research on Crime. Summary. Chapter 6. Brain Imaging: Introduction. Techniques in Brain Imaging. Computerized Tomography Studies of Crime and Violence. Positron Emission Tomography and Regional Cerebral Blood Flow Studies of Crime and Violence. Magnetic Resonance Imaging Studies of Crime and Violence. Reduced Prefrontal Glucose Metabolism in Murders. Overview of Brain Imaging Studies: Frontal Dysfunction in Violent Offenders and Temporal Dysfunction in Sexual Offenders? Theoretical Interpretations of Prefrontal Dysfunction. Applications and Implications of Brain Imaging Research. Summary. Chapter 7. Psychophysiology: General Introduction. Introduction to Psychophisiology. Skin Conductance and Crime. Heart Rate and Crime. Electroencephalogram and Crime. Event-Related Potential Studies. Prospective Psychophysiological Studies of Crime. Disinhibited Temperament and Psychophysiological Underarousal. Future Developments: The Nature of the Interaction between Psychophysiological and Social Predispositions for Crime. Summary. Chapter 8. Other Biological Factors: Head Injury, Pregnancy, and Birth Complications, Physical Appearance, Hormones, Diet, and Lead: Introduction. Head Injury. Birth Complications. Fetal Maldevelopment and Minor Physical Anomalies. Physical Attraction/Disability and Cosmetic Surgery. Body Build. Cortisol. Testosterone. Premenstrual Syndrome and Crime. Hypoglycemia. Diet. Lead. Summary. Chapter 9. Cognitive Deficits: Introduction. Classical Conditioning and Crime. Avoidance Learning and Crime. Oversensitivity to Rewards. General Comments on Classical Conditioning and Avoidance Learning Deficits in Criminals. Fear Dissipation and Skin Conductance Half-Recovery Time in Criminals. Intelligence. Learning Disability. Moral Reasoning. Social Information Processing. Summary. Chapter 10. Familial Influences: Introduction. Parental Criminality. Child Abuse. Parental Absence. Family Management and Discipline. Marital Conflict. Neglect. Size and Significance of Familial Correlates of Crime. Summary. Chapter 11. Extrafamilial Influences: Introduction. Peer and School Factors. Family Size. Social Class. Unemployment and Low Income. Urban Living/Poor Housing. The Cycle of Social Dysfunction in Criminals. Summary. Chapter 12. Is Crime a Disorder? Introduction. Fit of Definitions of Disorder to Research Findings on Crime. Arguments against the Notion That Crime Is a Disorder and Their Associated Counterarguments. Societal and Sociobiological Barriers to Accepting Crime as a Disorder. Constraints on Free Will. Crime as a Disorder and the Status of Biological Research. Suggestions of Racist Undertones to Biological Research on Crime. Future Directions in Criminality Research. Concluding Statement. Summary. References. Author Index. Subject Index.


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 1993
1st May 1997
Academic Press
Paperback ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

About the Author

Adrian Raine


"This is an extremely informative, thoughtful and illuminating book that should be read by every open-minded scholar who is interested in the causes of crime and antisocial behaviour...the whole book is a tour de force in its masterly reviews of the literature on biology and crime." --David P. Farrington, in PSYCHOLOGICAL MEDICINE

"Raines book presents an exemplary summary of the available evidence on all the risk factors for criminality that have been studied along more or less scientific lines, both biological and environmental. His scholarship is impeccable; he relies throughout on experimental (or at least empirical) evidence, is able to assess its evidential and probative value, and threads his way carefully through the forest of overlapping categories--criminal and psychopathic, schizotypal personality, etc. He is careful to introduce biological terms and constructs before discussing their relation to crime, and always gives both sides of any controversy that has arisen. The book sets a standard that will be difficult to surpass.... It is clear that there must exist neurochemical, hormonal, psychophysiological, and other biological structures and functions acting as intermediaries between DNA and criminal behavior. It is in discussion of these factors, which makes up the major part of the book, that Raine shines; it is here that his expertise is most manifest.... The book can be safely recommended as an excellent summary of the known facts in this tantalizing field...The book is outstandingly successful." --H.J. EYSENCK, University of London in CONTEMPORARY PSYCHOLOGY

"I enjoyed reading the book and learned much from it. To my knowledge there is nothing like it available. It exhaustively reviews the recent literature on the psychological and physiological characteristics of serious criminal offenders. Raine brilliantly compresses a huge, complex, unwieldy, and occasionally unclear body of data from many disciplines into a surprisingly accessible account of the traits that dispose some people to become offenders." --RICHARD J. HERRNSTEIN, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

"During my 20 years of researching and writing on criminal behavior, I have yet to find a summary on the biological foundations of crime as comprehensive, balanced, and accurate as this one. The book is truly worth having on this basis alone. Moreover, the reference list is extensive...and very up-to-date, allowing the reader to quickly identify cutting edge research in the field...Psychopathology of Crime is extremely well written in a pithy, scholarly style. The book is permeated with tables and figures that are thoughtfully laid out and add greatly to the content. It is a book that will be frequently cited in the biological approaches to criminal behavior and is a must for anyone interested in understanding the causes of crime." --Curt R. Bartol in JOURNAL OF NERVOUS AND MENTAL DISEASE

"I have yet to find a summary of the research and theory on the biological foundations of criminal behavior as comprehensive, balanced, and accurate as this one. The book is truly worth having for this reason alone, regardless of ones perspective on the controversial biology-crime issue. Moreover, the reference list is extensive and very up-to-date, allowing the reader to identify quickly cutting edge research in the biophysical approaches to crime.... It is extremely well written in a pithy, scholarly style. The book is full of tables and figures that are skillfully lad out and add significantly to the content. It is a book destined to be frequently (and favorably) cited in the literature of biological approaches to criminal behavior and a must read for anyone open to weighing all explanations." --Curt R. Bartol, Castleton State College, Vermont, in CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND BEHAVIOR: AN INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL

"Raine has produced a well-written monograph summarizing relevant work in genetics, neuro-chemistry, neuro-psychology, brain imaging, psycho-physiology, other biological factors, and cognitive deficits." --Harry Kennedy in BRITISH JOURNAL OF CRIMINOLOGY

"Raine begins with an incisive discussion as to how well crime qualifies as a 'disorder.' (Very well, he concludes.) He follows with intriguing speculation about the possible evolutionary roots of criminal behavior, before launching into a comprehensive review of the biochemical, physiological, genetic, and environmental factors linked to crime and delinquency. And finally, he discusses how these factors may operate in conjunction with sociological factors such as poverty and abuse. Raine concludes that biological influences on crime are clear." --CRIME TIMES

"This is especially timely as ther is increasing debate regarding the extent to which aggression, violence and "wrong-doing" may be construed as the legitimate concerns of psychiatry." --COGNITIVE NEUROPSYCHIATRY (Vol. 6, Issue 4, November 2001)

Ratings and Reviews