The neurobiology of antisocial behaviour
background Neuro-imaging is being used increasingly to provide explanations for antisocial behaviour.
aim To make a neurobiological contribution to the diagnosis of many types of antisocial behaviour.
method The literature was searched using PubMed and combinations of the keywords ‘psychopathy’, ‘antisocial’, ‘neurobiology’ and ‘neuro-anatomy’, for the period 1990-2009.
results Impairments in the prefrontal cortex, amygdala, hippocampus, superior temporal gyrus, corpus callosum and anterior cingulate cortex provide a possible explanation for a large number of the symptoms associated with antisocial behaviour. The concept of psychopathy is connected mainly with impairments in a prefrontal-temporal-limbic system.
conclusion Combinations of deficiencies in the associated brain areas and malfunctioning of the communication between the various brain structures seem to play a more important role than deficiencies in the separate brain structures.