Criminal Biopsychology

Alexander Kulla kulla at
Fri Mar 20 09:18:48 EST 1998

Fernando Barbosa wrote:
> Dear newsgroup friends,
> I'm conducting a doctoral research inscribed in the scientific area of
> biopsychology of crime. I'm trying to prove that the relapsing criminals
> have a reduction in the biopsychological resources needed to choose
> alternative behaviours to crime. So, they do not resist to an opportunity of
> a criminal action and, as matter of fact, they create their own
> opportunities. From a neuropsychological and psychofisiological point of
> view, they have a reduction in their freedom of choice and behaviour.
> I would appreciate contributions about how to assess this reduction in the
> degrees of freedom within the neuropsychological and psychofisiological
> research paradigms and tools.

Sorry, I don`t quite get the point. Assumed that criminals (relapsing or
not) have a reduction in "the freedom of choice and behaviour" why would
they compared to the average only choose to do criminal things? Why is
their first choice criminal instead of most people`s choices which abide
to the rules? Can we say that the criminal way is always the easier or
more obvious way to achieve things, which must be the case if it is
choosen as a first choice in a consequence of a reduction of choices?

Differentiation if a behaviour is criminal or legal is only possible in
the social system the person was brought up. 

Civilisation has it that most of these values are nearly the same all
over the world but still we find different judgement on things in the
news every day...

So first of all when I would commit a crime (first time or over and over
again) there are different posiibilities: 

1st, I don`t even know it is a crime because I don`t know the law or I
don`t have the mental capacities to understand the concept of law or at
the moment of the crime I was not in a mental state to think it over...
Is this what you are referring to?

2nd, I know very well the law and when planing and acting I always know
that the things I do are illegal in the surroundings I commit them. I
have the feeling that this is the majority of crimes (although I don`t
really know). If this is what you are referring to, than I would
consider these people have different values of fear, moral, justice or
simply they are putting their needs above all conventions (still the
question "why is this...").

If I know I do wrong things then doing them for me is more important
then being punished (very likely if the punishment is a very abstract
thing that I have not experienced before (not the case with frequent
criminals) or I think that I will not be caught or a punishment I have
received before was not considered to be severe enough to stop me now,

But doing things and thinking about the ratio of cost and possible
outcome is a very common thing. We do it several times a day and I
wouldn`t consider it being pathological. 
So why would people who commit crimes of this history rather not fear
consequences (instead of the majority fearing them) or not thinking of
them at all (instaed of the majority being stopped by the thought of

I can only consider people who commit crimes as dump, clever,
narrow-minded, open-minded, driven, relaxed, regretful, cold-as-ice...

We all are surrounded by people exploiting other people within the so
called legal barriers (all day life, that is), people putting their
needs on a higher level than others.
I agree with the hope that if certain forms of criminality are related
to genetic or/and physiological disorders, these people could be cured

But still (and this is my very personal view) I think that behind every
crime stands an individual story that in most parts can be explained
with a case history (often not very hard to understand (what says
nothing about how we should judge on the misbehaviour)). Comparable
cases do rather relate to the same individual and sociological
mismanagement than to a general neurological disorder (although we all
would like the idea of treating criminality with pills instaed of taking
our own responsibility in and for the society)...

Would really like to know more about your work.


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