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Neuroscience is showing that brain impairments raise the odds that some children will become psychopaths and violent offenders. Should we change their brains to prevent future crime and chaos? Can we use brain scans to predict future violence so that we can create a more orderly society? And if offenders are not responsible for the brain damage that propels them into a life of crime, should we punish them as harshly as we do? These are the thorny ethical questions that society can no longer continue to ignore as science increasingly dissects the biological roots of crime.
Adrian Raine is the Richard Perry University Professor of Criminology, Psychiatry, and Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. He gained his undergraduate degree in experimental psychology at the University of Oxford, and his PhD in Psychology from the University of York. His interdisciplinary research focuses on the etiology and prevention of antisocial, criminal, and psychopathic behavior in children and adults. He has published 331 journal articles and book chapters, 7 books, and given over 300 invited presentations in 25 countries. His latest book, The Anatomy of Violence (2013, Pantheon and Penguin), reviews the brain basis to violence and draws future implications for the punishment, prediction, and prevention of offending, as well as the neuroethical concerns that surround this work. He is currently President of the Academy of Experimental Criminology.