In recent years, there has been an explosion of knowledge concerning the developmental processes that lead to persistent violent offending, and in particular, the neurobiological determinants. However, the field of violence has suffered from a divide between basic laboratory neuroscience and clinical science. Hence, this new knowledge has hithero had little impact on government policies, prevention programmes, and on the rehabilition of offenders.
This book embraces a translational approach to treating the problem of violent offending. It highlights some of the key scientific challenges, as well as the dilemmas and difficulties in the translation of scientific findings (whether basic or clinical) into policy and practice applications. Using findings derived from studies in molecular genetics and brain imaging, it provides the latest field of knowledge about violent offending and how to treat and prevent this major problem. The book starts by examining what we know about the development of persistent violent offenders and the factors and mechanisms thought to underlie their pattern of aggressive behaviour. Subsequent chapters describe studies looking at the cognitive and neural functioning of persistent violent offenders and the kind of children at risk of becoming violent offenders. The chapters in the latter part of the volume review the effectiveness of rehabilitation programmes for adult violent offenders. The book ends by focusing on the estblishment of effective interventions for children at risk of becoming violent offenders and for mothers who are at risk of having at-risk children.
Throuhgout, the volume emphasizes the need to consider both biological and non-biological factors as promoters of violence. For neuroscientists, criminologists, psychologists, and psychiatrists, this state of the art volume demonstrates just what can be achieved by integrating neuroscience with clinical practice, and presents a way forward for the development of effective treatments for persistent violent offending.
Sheilagh Hodgins is a Professor at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London. She is the author of numerous articles, book chapters, and books on mental disorders and violence. Her research endeavours to understand the developmental mechanisms associated with stable patterns of aggressive behaviours in individuals who present different mental disorders and to use this information to inform specific interventions. Essi Viding is a Reader at the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London. Her research explores the different developmental pathways that can lead to persistent antisocial behaviour, with a particular focus on psychopathy. Dr. Viding has trained in both behavioural genetics and cognitive neuroscience and uses a range of methodologies including twin model-fitting and fMRI in her research. Anna Plodowski is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Institute of Psychiatry, using the cognitive neuroscience methodologies of electrophysiology and fMRI to investigate persistent violent offending.