A team of scientists led by Dr. Kent Kiehl published findings this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that suggest new technology may indicate which criminals are more likely to be repeat offenders. The study shows a high correlation between a certain type of brain activity and impulsivity – the reaction underlying many instances of repeat criminal behavior. Dr. Kiehl indicates that association between a low level of activity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) region of the brain and higher impulsivity rates may be a significant neurocognitive biomarker to detect perpetual antisocial behavior. The results show that the offenders with low ACC activity are twice as likely to be arrested a second time as those with high levels of ACC activity. Recidivism, or repetitive criminal action, is significant in the U.S. and this type of scientific evidence would allow authorities to categorize criminals based on the level of risk they pose. In addition, Dr. Kiehl is hopeful that new avenues may now be explored to treat criminals with low activity levels in the ACC in order to increase activity, decrease impulsivity, and try to reduce the number of repeat offenders.
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