Towards a neurobiological model of offending

Clin Psychol Rev. 2011 Jul;31(5):872-82. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2011.04.001. Epub 2011 Apr 14.


In this paper we consider how disturbances in the neurobiological/neurochemical processes at a young age lead to problematic attachment styles in later life, and which can potentiate probability of offending behavior. In particular, we will contrast attachment and offending patterns of the more generalist type of offender (i.e., those who have a varied criminal career, committing both violent and non-violent offenses, in extremis the psychopathic type of offender), with the more specialist sexual offender (prototypically, the fixated pedophile), in the light of a preliminary neurobiological model. Here, we will argue that these two extremes of offenders show, or are predicted to show, differential patterns of neurochemical/neurobiological functioning.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Criminal Psychology
  • Criminals / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Object Attachment*
  • Violence / psychology*