Religious Studies

Will he aggress again and if so, can we change his mind? A new experimental and brain-system-based approach of reliably predicting future violent behaviour of antisocial offenders

Project posted in research topic: 
Religious Studies
Nationaal Initiatief Hersenen & Cognitie
Invite only
Participants 1

Rising violence poses main challenges to our modern society. Until today, however, we have no effective dynamic tools to reliably predict whether or not an antisocial offender is likely to aggress again, and to normalize aggression predictors for successful societal re-integration.
In a completely new and innovative methodological endeavour, this proposal aims at establishing new valid dynamic aggression predictors by i) developing a new experimental approach for identifying dynamic aggression predictors, and by ii) assessing these predictors` sensitivity for change following neural modification. We propose three candidate predictors of future violent behaviour, namely cognitive biases, automatic aggression associations, and self-control. There is evidence that these three predictors are pathologically altered in antisocial offenders and that their aggressive behaviour is associated with pathological malfunction of the response inhibition system in their prefrontal brain. We aim to pioneer using non-invasive brain interference techniques in order to directly stimulate or inhibit these malfunctioning cortical circuits in the brain, thereby further validating the three aggression predictors.
Studies 1 and 2 will identify the three aggression predictors, and assess how increases in these factors predict short and long-term aggression of antisocial offenders. Studies 3 and 4 will apply fMRI-guided magnetic brain stimulation versus inhibition of left prefrontal cortex to assess sensitivity of change of the three aggression predictors.
These studies will provide new pathways for dynamically predicting aggressive behaviour of antisocial offenders. Ultimately, this will potentially reduce violent recidivism, and increase adequate mastering of aggression and thus social safety.

Dr. J. Lobbestael
Verbonden aan
Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy
S. Brugman, Dr. F. Dambacher
01/09/2011 tot 15/01/2016

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