Neurogenetics of antisocial aggression

Authored by: Hayley M. Dorfman , Joshua W. Buckholtz

The Routledge International Handbook of Biosocial Criminology

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  December  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415722131
eBook ISBN: 9781315858449
Adobe ISBN: 9781317936749


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Over 1 million violent crimes are committed each year in the United States alone. While the physical and emotional consequences of these crimes are severe, violent crime has substantial social costs as well. Considering the cumulative costs of medical treatment, incarceration, and lost productivity, violent crimes account for approximately 3 percent of the United States’ gross domestic product (GDP) spending. The staggering costs of violent crime make understanding the etiology and pathophysiology of violence a major scientific priority. However, the causal architecture of antisocial behavior remains unclear. This is due in part to limitations in how investigators specify this construct. Considered as a behavioral phenotype, “antisociality” is multi faceted and heterogeneous, comprising several distinct phenotypes, including aggression, lack of empathy, and impulsivity. Each of these can in turn be further granulized, magnifying the already complex task of identifying specific individual-level risk factors and mechanisms. To simplify, we focus here on one specific aspect of antisociality: aggression.

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