Brain imaging: A predictor of future crime?

In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last week, neuroscientists say they can use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to determine which criminals are likely to commit more crimes.

The researchers studied 96 male prisoners shortly before they were released from prison, scanning them with fMRI while they were instructed to perform computer tasks requiring quick and impulsive decisions. The researchers then followed the prisoners for four years.

The researchers found that the men who had lower activity in the area of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex had a 2.6 times higher re-arrest rate for all crimes, and a 4.3 times higher rate for non-violent crimes. Article

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