Neuroscience and crime. -
NEUROCASE 2008, 14 (1), 1���6 �� 2008 Psychology Press, an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an Informa business http://www.psypress.com/neurocase DOI: 10.1080/13554790801994756 NNCS Neuroscience and crime Neuroscience and Crime Hans J. Markowitsch Physiological Psychology, University of Bielefeld, Bielefeld, Germany Jurisprudence will profit considerably from methods and applications of the neurosciences. In fact, it is proposed that the neurosciences will provide unique possibilities and advantages in understanding motivations and causes for staying lawful or for becoming unlawful. Neuroscientific models on brain���behavior interactions have profited considerably from the advent of neuroimaging techniques and genetic analyses. Furthermore, advances in interdisci- plinary investigations, which combine conventional psychological and sociological explorations with biological examinations, provide refined insights into the question ���What makes us tick?��� (Weiskrantz, 1973, British Journal of Psychology, 64, 511���520). The search for such interactions from the time of the nineteenth century to the present is briefly surveyed and it is concluded that the interdisciplinary approaches within and across neuroscientific fields will lead and have already led to a considerable expansion of our knowledge. The articles in this issue devoted to high- lighting the latest neuroscience research related to criminal behavior underline the power of this new approach. Keywords: Functional brain imaging Lie detection Genetic analyses Crime Jurisprudence Forensic psychiatry. INTRODUCTION Results of neuroscientific research influence many other scientific fields, which in former times neglected the existence of the brain and the interde- pendence between brain and behavior. The advent of functional neuroimaging methods was especially recognized as a new stage in unraveling the mecha- nisms of perceptions, motivations, emotions, and memories. The previous privacy of thoughts, ideas, and wishes was brought towards greater light by neuroimaging. It became possible to find correlates between psychogenic disturbances, such as dissociative amnesia (Markowitsch, 2003) and con- version paralysis (Burgmer et al., 2006), and changes in brain metabolism. Similarly, it was pos- sible to relate the success of treatments to changes in brain metabolism (Markowitsch, Kessler, Weber- Luxenburger, Van der Ven, & Heiss, 2000). The last decade has been characterized by recog- nizing neurosciences as central to various other scientific fields. Expressions like ���neuroeconomy���, ���neuroethology���, ���neuroanthropology���, ���neurothe- ology��� ���neuropsychoanalysis���, ���neurolinguistics���, etc., indicate that the input from the ���neuro-field��� is highly welcomed by other disciplines. No wonder then that also criminology ��� though with hesitation ��� has recognized that it might profit from the progress in the neurosciences (Markowitsch & Kalbe, 2007 Zeki & Goodenough, 2006). The law in general is conservative and relies on traditions. The uniform of British judges who have to appear with a medieval wig characterizes such traditions, as do the robes judges need in many other countries when appearing in court. And recent reports emphasize that judges rely ��� in spite of mul- tiple counterevidence (e.g., Dodson & Krueger, 2006 Loftus, 2003) ��� more on the subjective reports of eyewitnesses than on objective data, based for example on measurements using scientific equip- ment (Busey & Loftus, 2006 Saks & Koehler, 2005). Only DNA analyses may be seen as an exception. Address correspondence to Hans J. Markowitsch, Physiological Psychology, University of Bielefeld, P.O.B. 10 01 31, D-33501 Bielefeld, Germany (E-mail: email@example.com).
2 MARKOWITSCH HISTORICAL AND PRESENT ATTEMPTS TO FIND RELATIONS BETWEEN DEVIANT BRAINS AND DEVIANT BEHAVIOR In the neurosciences, on the one hand, there has been a long ��� though over time not very successful ��� tradition of trying to find abnormalities in the brains of criminals (reviewed in Markowitsch, 1992). Lenin, for example, was considered to have been an ���athlete of associations���, because extraordi- narily large pyramidal neurons were found in his cortical tissue (Vogt, 1929) and portions of Ein- stein���s brain were repeatedly examined and special features were reported and found to be in line with his extraordinary mathematical-physical imagina- tive power (Anderson & Harvey, 1996 Colombo, Reisin, Miguel-Hidalgo, & Rajkowska, 2006 Dia- mond, Scheibel, Murphy, & Harvey, 1985 Witel- son, Kigar, & Harvey, 1999). On the other hand, since the case of Phineas Gage was published in the nineteenth century (Bigelow, 1850 Harlow, 1848, 1869 see also Damasio, Grabowski, Frank, Gal- aburda, & Damasio, 1994), people became aware of the fact that a damaged brain may have lasting con- sequences on personality dimensions. Subsequently, one of the first female doctors, Leonore Welt from Switzerland, published in 1888, in the German journal Deutsches Archiv f��r klinische Medicin, an article entitled ���On character changes in human beings after lesions of the frontal lobe��� (Ueber Char- akterver��nderungen des Menschen infolge von L��sionen des Stirnhirns). In this article she described how people, after frontal lobe damage, changed from being accurate and reliable persons to unstable, grumpy and unreliable subjects. While these people usually did not become cri- minals, there are recent descriptions emphasizing a close relationship between frontal lobe damage and deviant behavior. Above all, the investigations of Adrian Raine point to both structural and meta- bolic changes in the frontal lobes of murderers (Raine, 2001 Raine, Lencz, Bihrle, LaCasse, & Colletti, 2000 Yang et al., 2005), as well as in other brain structures (Raine et al., 2003, 2004). Simi- larly, the brains of pedophilic offenders show structural deviations from normal in the right amygdala and diencephalus (Schiltz et al., 2007). Particular attention was devoted to the case of a father who suddenly became pedophilic and was imprisoned, and who later turned out to have a tumor in his right frontal lobe. Removal of the tumor resulted in reinstallation of his normal, non-pedophilic per- sonality (Burns & Swerdlow, 2003). Numerous related studies could be cited that all point to close relations between structural changes and functional consequences. So, the calcification of both amygdalae can result in a changed perception of threatening stimuli and can lead to less fearful behavior (Markowitsch et al., 1994 Siebert, Markowitsch, & Bartel, 2003). Furthermore, an over- active amygdala may lead to sudden aggressive attacks (Mark & Ervin, 1970). These descriptions and searches for structure��� function relations in psychopaths can be regarded as a ���new phrenology���. In fact, soon after the decay of classical phrenology, Cesare Lombroso, in 1876, published a very influential book in which he described physiognomic features, walking abnor- malities (Figure 1), gestures, etc., all of which were in his eyes indicative for characterization of the ���born criminal���. Other scientists of that time were convinced that they had established the ���carnivo- rous type��� of human brain (Benedikt, 1876) or had weighed brains in order to observe relationsships with deviant behavior (Meynert, 1867). However, the current methodological and technical progress and advantages, on the bases of which inferences are drawn, differ widely from those of the early periods of brain research. Consequently, present-day research frequently emphasizes the existence of distinct and predictable relations between brain changes and tendencies for criminal behavior (Basserath, 2001 Blake, Pincus, & Buckner, 1995 Bufkins & Luttrell, 2005), as well as those between genes (e.g., Caspi et al., 2002) and hormones (Kl��tz, Garle, Granath, & Thiblin, 2006 Popma et al., 2007) and behavior. However, an even stronger focus is laid on the shaping and changing of neuronal networks by environmental influences. Such studies range from the influence of raising children on their behavior (Fries, Ziegler, Kurian, Jacoris, & Pollak, 2005 Murray & Farrington, 2005) to those measuring relations between degrees of experience and changes in vol- umes of brain structures (Biegler, McGregor, Krebs, & Healy, 2001 Maguire et al., 2000 Sheline, Gado, & Price, 1998 Sheline, Gado, & Kraemer, 2003 Vermetten, Schmahl, Lindner, Loewenstein, & Bremner, 2006 Winter & Irle, 2004). In line with early work from psychoanalysis (Freud, 1910 Spitz & Wolf, 1946), recent studies such as that of Fries and co-workers (2005) found that early experience determines later behavior to an extraordinary extent. Children, raised in extremely aberrant social environments (Eastern European orphanages) and later adopted by American