Biological Class Study - Raine (1997)

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Aim

To show that the brains of murderers pleading not guilty by reason of insanity were different from the brains of non-murderers.

In particular, Raine hypothesised that seriously violent individuals would have relatively localised brain dysfunction in areas such as the pre-frontal cortex, amygdala and thalamus.

Procedure

  • There were 41 murderers pleading NGRI and 41 matched (sex, age etc) controls. The main participants were 39 men and 2 women, either charged with murder or manslaughter.             -The group consisted of people with a history of brain damage and schizophrenics, amongst other issues. The matched group also contained 6 schizophrenic controls. The rest of the control group were thoroughly screened and showed no history of psychiatric illness; none of the controls had committed murder.
  • All offenders were in custody and were kept medication free for two weeks; they did not receive psychoactive medication at the time of the scans and for the two week period preceding brain scanning (urine samples confirmed this).
  • Ten minutes before the FDG injection, subjects were given practice trials on the CPT so they knew what to expect…

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