Psychopathy and Aggression: When Paralimbic Dysfunction Leads to Violence

Part of the Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences book series (CTBN, volume 17)


Psychopaths can be alarmingly violent, both in the frequency with which they engage in violence and the gratuitous extent of their violent acts. Indeed, one principal utility of the clinical construct of psychopathy is in predicting future violent behavior in criminal offenders. Aggression is a complex construct that intersects psychopathy at many levels. This chapter provides a review of psychopathy as a clinical construct including the most prominent cognitive and neurobiological models, which serve to account for its pathophysiology. We then describe how the brain abnormalities implicated in psychopathy may lead to diverse behavioral outcomes, which can include aggression in its many forms.


Psychopathy Violence Impulsive aggression Premeditated aggression 


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Mind Research NetworkAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.The Mind Research Network and University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA

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