Medicine And The Media

Brainwaves

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.7010.956 (Published 07 October 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:956
  1. Paul Chesterman

    As part of its “Battered Britain” series Channel 4 broadcast a three part documentary, A Mind to Crime, which focused on the biological causes of offending. In a bold assertive style it claimed that “new” research has all but solved the complex problem of understanding the causes of offending behaviour. Recidivist criminals constitute only a small fraction of the total population so the usual explanations of crime, principally economic and social deprivation, were said to be inadequate. Biological factors must also be considered. The first programme summarised research suggesting that underactivity of critical parts of the brain is a major cause of offending. The programme claimed that many adult offenders first show their deviant behaviour in childhood when cortical underarousal declares itself as attention deficit disorder. Underarousal was said to affect the frontal lobes of the brain, allowing more primitive parts of the brain to …

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