Neural bases of antisocial behavior: a voxel-based meta-analysis

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2014 Aug;9(8):1223-31. doi: 10.1093/scan/nst104. Epub 2013 Aug 6.


Individuals with antisocial behavior place a great physical and economic burden on society. Deficits in emotional processing have been recognized as a fundamental cause of antisocial behavior. Emerging evidence also highlights a significant contribution of attention allocation deficits to such behavior. A comprehensive literature search identified 12 studies that were eligible for inclusion in the meta-analysis, which compared 291 individuals with antisocial problems and 247 controls. Signed Differential Mapping revealed that compared with controls, gray matter volume (GMV) in subjects with antisocial behavior was reduced in the right lentiform nucleus (P < 0.0001), left insula (P = 0.0002) and left frontopolar cortex (FPC) (P = 0.0006), and was increased in the right fusiform gyrus (P < 0.0001), right inferior parietal lobule (P = 0.0003), right superior parietal lobule (P = 0.0004), right cingulate gyrus (P = 0.0004) and the right postcentral gyrus (P = 0.0004). Given the well-known contributions of limbic and paralimbic areas to emotional processing, the observed reductions in GMV in these regions might represent neural correlates of disturbance in emotional processing underlying antisocial behavior. Previous studies have suggested an FPC role in attention allocation during emotional processing. Therefore, GMV deviations in this area may constitute a neural basis of deficits in attention allocation linked with antisocial behavior.

Keywords: Brodmann area (BA) 9; antisocial personality disorder; conduct disorder; frontal pole; psychopathy.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / pathology*
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Gray Matter / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Organ Size