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Thu Nov 27 16:14:14 SAST 2014

Neural marker linked to criminals who re-offend after arrest

Times LIVE | 26 March, 2013 12:26
Brain image
Image by: SUPPLIED

Convicts showing low activity in a brain region associated with decision making are more likely to get arrested again, and sooner.

According to Nature, Kent Kiehl, a neuroscientist at the non-profit Mind Research Network in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and his team used functional magnetic resonance imaging to look at the brains of 96 criminals before their release, while they did tasks requiring quick decisions and the ability to inhibit impulsive reactions.

Their scans focused on a part of the anterior cingulate cortex, a part of the brain involved in decision making and motor control.

After four years, the scientists found the men who had lower activity in that part of the brain during the tests, were more than four times more likely to get arrested again for nonviolent crimes, and 2.6 times more likely to get rearrested in general.

The authors caution however that more work is needed to show the technique is reliable and consistent, and that if it gets proven should only be applied to high risk felons rather than low risk offenders.

You can read the full story over at Nature.com

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