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Biological Protective Factors for Antisocial and Criminal Behavior

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 41 Issue: 5 Dated: September - October 2013 Pages: 292-299
Jill Portnoy; Frances R. Chen; Adrian Raine
Date Published
October 2013
8 pages
This study reviews neuropsychological and psychophysiology research on protective factors that reduce the probability of antisocial behavior.
The study found that although research into biological protective factors against antisocial behavior is currently limited, there is promising evidence that biological factors could provide a better understanding as to why some individuals do not engage in antisocial or criminal behavior under high-risk social conditions. Together, the studies reviewed found that superior neuropsychological and psychophysiological functioning apparently protects against higher levels of antisocial behavior, although this conclusion should be qualified by the relatively limited body of research conducted to date on this issue. This literature review found that of the neuropsychological factors, high IQ has the most replicated protective effects against antisocial behavior. Executive function also rates high as a protective factor. High resting heart rate and enhanced autonomic fear conditioning and attention to processing may also have protective effects against antisocial behavior. Regarding future research in this area, biosocial researchers are in an opportune position to research factors that protect against the development of antisocial behavior in individuals assessed at high-risk for antisocial/criminal behavior based on social factors. Four types of research methodologies for such research are described. 104 references


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