A Neurological View of Violence

  • Jonathan H. Pincus
Part of the Applied Clinical Psychology book series


The problem of defining aggression—and thus differentiating it from violence—has already been discussed in Chapter 2 by David Crowell and continues to be an issue throughout this book. The position taken in this chapter is that it is clinically useful to consider extreme aggression or violence as a separate category of behavior. This is based on the observation that acts of repeated or extreme personal violence that are committed with little or no provocation are truly rare, as pointed out by Evans and Scheuer in Chapter 4. Considering the opportunities for this form of self-expression, physical acts of violence against persons are unusual in adulthood and even in adolescence.


Temporal Lobe Epilepsy Violent Behavior Limbic System Attentional Deficit Disorder Heroin User 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ashford, J. W., Schulz, S. C., & Walsh, F. O. (1980). Violent automatism in a partial complex seizure. Archives of Neurology, 37, 120.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bear, D. M., & Fedio, P. (1977). Quantitative analysis of interictal behavior in temporal lobe epilepsy. Archives of Neurology, 34, 454.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bowman, K. M., & Jellinck, E. M. (1941). Alcoholic mental disorders. Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 2, 312.Google Scholar
  4. Budd, R. D. (1982). The incidence of alcohol use in Los Angeles County homicides. American Journal of Alcohol Abuse, 9, 105–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carnahan, W. (1981). Violence and the legal system. Paper originally presented at a meeting of the International Society for Research on Aggression, Wheaton College, Norton, MA.Google Scholar
  6. Cocozza, J. J., & Steadman, H. J. (1974). Some refinements in the measurement and prediction of dangerous behavior. American Journal of Psychiatry, 131, 10–12.Google Scholar
  7. Currie, S. (1971). Clinical course and prognosis of temporal lobe epilepsy. Brain, 94, 173.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Delgado-Escueta, A. V., Mattson, R. H., King, L., et al. (1981). The nature of aggression during epileptic seizures. New England Journal of Medicine, 305, 711.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Detre, T. P., & Jarecki, H. G. (1971). Modern psychiatric treatment. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott.Google Scholar
  10. Elliott, F. A. (1977). Propanolol for the control of belligerent behavior following acute brain damage. Annuals of Neurology, 1, 489–491.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Elliott, F. A. (1981, August). Personal communication. Paper originally presented at a meeting of the International Society for Research on Aggression, Wheaton College, Norton. MA.Google Scholar
  12. Elliott, F. A. (1982). Neurological findings in adult minimal brain dysfunction and the dyscontrol syndrome. Journal of Neurological and Mental Diseases, 170, 680–687.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Falconer, M. A., Hill, D., Meyer, A., & Wilson, J. (1958). Clinical, radiological and EEG correlations with pathological changes in temporal lobe epilepsy and their significance in surgical treatment. In M. Baldwin & P. Bailey (Eds.), Temporal lobe epilepsy. Springfield, IL: C. C. Thomas.Google Scholar
  14. Fauman, M. A. (1979). Violence associated with phencyclidine abuse. American Journal of Psychiatry, 136, 1584–1586.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Fulton, H. H. (1953). Discussion. Epilepsia 2, 77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gerald, P. S. (1976). Current concepts in genetics: Sex chromosome disorders. New England Journal of Medicine, 294, 706.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gibbens, T. C. N., Pond, D. A., & Stafford-Clark, D. (1959). Followup study of criminal psychopaths. Journal of Mental Sciences, 105, 108.Google Scholar
  18. Glaser, G. H. (1967). Limbic epilepsy in childhood. Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases, 144, 391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Glaser, G. H., & Pincus, J. H. (1969). Limbic encephalitis. Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases, 149, 59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Goldstein, M. (1974). Brain research and violent behavior: A summary and evaluation of the status of biomedical research on brain and aggressive violent behavior. Archives of Neurology, 30, 1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gunn, J. C. (1982). Violence and epilepsy. New England Journal of Medicine, 306, 299.Google Scholar
  22. Hartelius, H. (1965). Study of male juvenile delinquency. Acta Psychiatry Scandanavia, 40, 7.Google Scholar
  23. Holcomb, W. R., & Anderson, W. P. (1983). Alcohol and multiple drug use in accused murderers. Psychological Report, 52, 159–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hook, E. B., & Kim, D. S. (1970). Prevalence of XYY and XXY karyotypes in 337 non-retarded young offenders. New England Journal of Medicine, 283, 410.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jacobs, P. A., Prince, W. H., Richmond, S., & Ratecliff, R. A. W. (1971). Chromosome surveys in penal institutions and approved schools. Journal of Medical Genetics, 8, 49.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kluver, H., & Bucy, P. C. (1939). Preliminary analysis of functions of the temporal lobes in monkeys. Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry, 42, 979.Google Scholar
  27. Knutsen, J. F. (1981, August). Personal communication. Paper originally presented at a meeting of the International Society for Research on Aggression, Wheaton College, Norton, MA.Google Scholar
  28. Kolb, L., Carnahan, W. W., Steadman, H., & Wright, J. (1978). The insanity defense in New York. New York: State Department of Mental Hygiene.Google Scholar
  29. Lancet (1982). Editorial, Dangerousness, 2, 1341.Google Scholar
  30. Lewis, D. O., Pincus, J. H., Shanok, S. S., & Glaser, G. H. (1982). Psychomotor epilepsy and violence in a group of incarcerated adolescent boys. American Journal of Psychiatry, 139, 882.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Lewis, D. O., Shanok, S. S., Pincus, J. H., et al. (1979). Violent juvenile delinquents: Psychiatric, neurological, psychological and abuse factors. Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 18, 307–319.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lewis, D. O., Shanok, S. S., & Pincus, J. H. (1982). A comparison of the neuropsychiatrie status of female and male incarcerated delinquents: Some evidences of sex and race bias. Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 21, 190.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lion, J. R. (1975). Conceptual issues in the use of drugs for the treatment of aggression in man. Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases, 160, 76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Loberg, T. (1983). Belligerence in alcohol dependence. Scandanavian Journal of Psychology, 24, 285–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. MacLean, P. D. (1952). Some psychiatric implications of physiological studies on frontotemporal portion of limbic system (visceral brain). Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology, 4, 407.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. MacLean, P. D. (1954). The limbic system and its hippocampal formation: Studies in animals and their possible relation to man. Journal of Neurosurgery, 11, 29.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Malamud, N. (1967). Psychiatric disorder with intracranial tumors of the limbic system. Archives of Neurology, 17, 113.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mark, V. H., & Ervin, F. R. (1970). Violence and the brain. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  39. Marini, J. L., & Sheard, M. H. (1977). Antiaggressive effect of lithium in man. Acta Psychiatry Scandanavia, 55, 269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Monroe, R. R. (1975). Anticonvulsants in the treatment of aggression. Journal of Nervous Mental Diseases, 160, 119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Nurco, D. N., Shaffer, J. W., & Ball, J. C. (1984). Trends in the commission of crime among narcotics addicts over successive periods of addiction and nonaddiction. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 10, 481–489.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Ounsted, C. (1969). Aggression and epilepsy: Rage in children with temporal lobe epilepsy. Journal Psychosomatic Research, 13, 237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Papez, J. W. (1937). A proposed mechanism of emotion. Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry, 38, 725.Google Scholar
  44. Robins, L. N. (1966). Deviant children grown up: Sociological and Psychiatric study of sociopathic personality. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins.Google Scholar
  45. Robins, S. L. N., & Murphy, G. E. (1967). Drug use in a normal population of young negro men. American Journal of Public Health, 57, 1580–1596.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Rodin, E. A. (1973). Psychomotor epilepsy and aggressive behavior. Archives of General Psychiatry, 28, 210.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Roslund, B., & Larson, C. A. (1979). Crimes of violence and alcohol abuse in Sweden. International Journal of Addiction, 14, 1103–1115.Google Scholar
  48. Rouzioux, J. M., Parisot, P., Picard, J., Vermont, J., & Isnard, E. (1985). Role of acute alcoholism in violent deaths. Statistics of the Lyon Medical Legal Institute. Presse-Med 14, 1017–1023.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Rutter, M. (1983).Google Scholar
  50. Saint-Hilaire, J. M., Gilbert, M., & Bouner, G. (1980). Aggression as an epileptic manifestation: Two cases with depth electrode study. Epilepsia 21, 184.Google Scholar
  51. Satterfield, J. H., Hoppe, C. M., & Schell, A. M. (1982). A prospective study of delinquency in 110 adolescent boys with attention deficit disorder and 88 normal adolescent boys. American Journal of Psychiatry, 139, 795.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Schreier, H. A. (1979). Use of propanolol in the treatment of postencephalitis psychosis. American Journal of Psychiatry, 136, 840.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Serafetinides, E. A. (1965). Aggression in temporal lobe epileptics and its relation to cerebral dysfunction and environmental factors. Epilepsia 6, 33.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Sheard, M. H., Marini, J. L., & Bridges, C. I. (1976). The effect of lithium on impulsive, aggressive behavior in man. American Journal of Psychiatry, 133, 1409.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Shupe, I. M. (1954). Alcohol and crime: A study of the urine alcohol concentration found in 882 persons arrested during or immediately after the commission of a felony. Journal of Crime, Law and Criminology, 44, 661–664.Google Scholar
  56. Singer, A. C. (1978). Insanity acquittal in the 1970’s: Observation on empirical analysis of one jurisdiction. Mental Disability Law Reporter 406, 417.Google Scholar
  57. Slater, E., & Cowie, V. (1971). The genetics of mental disorders. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  58. Smith, J. S. (1980). Episodic rage in limbic epilepsy and the dyscontrol syndrome. In M. Girais & L. G. Kilah (Eds.), Elsevier, North Holland: Biomedical Press.Google Scholar
  59. Somerville, E. R., & Bruni, J. (1983). Tonic status epilepticus presenting as confusional state. American Neurology, 13, 549.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Soothill, K. L., Jack, A., & Gibbens, T. C. N. (1976). Rape: A twenty-two year cohort study. Medical Science and Law, 16, 62–69.Google Scholar
  61. Soothill, K. L., & Pope, P. J. (1973). Arson: A twenty-year cohort study. Medical Science and Law, 13, 127–158.Google Scholar
  62. Steadman, H. J., & Keveles, G. (1972). The community adjustment and criminal activity of the Backstrom patients, 1966–1970. American Journal of Psychiatry, 129, 304–310.Google Scholar
  63. Stevens, J. R., & Hermann, B. P. (1981). Temporal lobe epilepsy, psychopathology and violence: The state of the evidence. Neurology 31, 1127.Google Scholar
  64. Stevens, J. R., Mark, V. H., Erwin, F., Pacheco, P., & Suematsu, K. (1969). Deep temporal stimulation in man: Long latency, long lasting psychological changes. Archives of Neurology, 21, 157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Straus, M., & Gelles, R. J. (1981). Behind closed doors: Violence in the American family. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  66. Taylor, P. L., & Albright, W. J. (1981). Non-drug criminal behavior and heroin use. International Journal of Addiction, 16, 683–696.Google Scholar
  67. Thompson, G. N. (1963). Electroencephalogram in acute pathological alcoholic intoxication. Bulletin of the Los Angeles Neurological Society, 28, 217.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  68. Thornberry, T. P., & Jacoby, J. E. (1979). The criminally insane in a community follow up of mentally ill offenders. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  69. Tinkenberg, J. (1973). Drugs and crime in drug use in America. Vol. 1. Patterns and Consequence of Drug Use. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  70. Trimble, M. R. (1983). Personality disturbances in epilepsy. Neurology, 33, 13–32.Google Scholar
  71. Tupin, J. P., Smith, D. B., Clanon, T. L., et al. (1973). The long term use of lithium in aggressive prisoners. Comparative Psychiatry, 14, 311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Williams, D. T. (1969). Neural factors related to habitual aggression.Google Scholar
  73. Williams, D. T., Mehl, R., & Yudofsky, S. (1984). The effect of propanolol on uncontrolled rage outbursts in children and adolescents with organic brain dysfunction. Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry.Google Scholar
  74. Wolfgang, M. (1975). Delinquency and violence from the viewpoint of criminality. In U. S. Fields & W. H. Sweet (Eds.), Neural bases of violence and aggression. St. Louis, MO:Google Scholar
  75. Wolfgang, M. E. (1958). Patterns in criminal homicide. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar
  76. Wright, H. H. (1980). Violence and PCP abuse. American Journal of Psychiatry, 137, 752–753.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  77. Yudofsky, S., Williams, D., & Gorman, J. (1981). Propanolol in the treatment of rage and violent behavior in patients with chronic brain syndrome. American Journal of Psychiatry, 138, 218.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan H. Pincus
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

Personalised recommendations