Raine et al. 1997

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  • RAINE ET AL. 1997
    • Aim
      • to see whether there were brain differences between 41 violent offenders and a group of normal controls by using PET scans to compare brain functioning
    • Procedure
      • a group of prisoners convicted for murder were sent for brain scanning
        • related to appeals over their guilt/innocence on the grounds of insanity
        • matched with a group of non-offenders on age, sex and schizophrenia where appropriate
    • Results
      • murderers showed lower levels of activity in pre-frontal cortex, corpus callosum and parts of limbic system
        • all areas of brain associated with self-control and inhibition of violent behaviour
          • thought to show murderers find it difficult to control their behaviour
      • murderers had lower levels of activity in parietial cortex
        • link to low verbal ability and therefore lower education attainment which may account for criminal behaviour
    • Problems
      • although PET scans are objective ways of gathering information, they are hard to interpret accurately
      • difficult to say whether the differences in brain functions are the only factors in the murderers' criminal behaviour
      • could be social factors that were not considered in research
    • Strengths
      • large sample size
      • matched control group
        • conclusions could be made quite confidently


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