Raine et al., (2002) – Brain Dysfunction

Raine et al,. (2002) – ‘Prefrontal Structural and Functional Deficits in Schizotypal Personality Disorder’


Phineas Gage

Raine (1997)

This study was conducted on convicted murderers, all of whom plead not guilty by reason of insanity. All of the murderers were brain scanned and compared with a control group. The results showed that the murderers had reduced activity in areas of the brain such as the prefrontal cortex, thalamus, hippocampus and the left side of the amygdala, which are all linked to violent behaviour. The murderers had increased activity in the right side of the amygdala, thalamus and hippocampus.


To use a multi-factorial approach to understand antisocial and aggressive behaviour but primarily from a biological perspective.


A review article.

Raine et al, reviewed and summarised a number of neuropsychological, neurological and brain imaging studies, in order to understand the neurological basis for antisocial behaviour and children’s development.


Raine et al, found much research to suggest that the adolescent brain is still forming its final connections up to the early twenties, for example, (Blakemore and Choudhury; Sowell et al, 1999). Activity in the prefrontal lobes is lesser in impulsive individuals who are likely to be anti-social and aggressive. Possibly giving a biological explanation of why offending rates peak in the adolescent years of individuals. Raine suggests that a low resting heart rate may be a good predicator of individuals who will seek to raise their heart rate via thrill seeking activities. Raine further suggested that an individual may have an increased risk of having a biological predisposition to antisocial behaviour from the following factors:

  • Birth complications
  • Poor parents
  • Physical Abuse
  • Malnutrition
  • Smoking and drinking during pregnancy



Raine suggests these biological predispositions can be prevented:

“Early health intervention and prevention studies may provide the most effective way of reversing biological deficits that predispose to antisocial and aggressive behaviour in children and adults.”


+ The research is useful in attempting to prevent anti-social behaviour.

– Using previous research does not guarantee a bias free research.

+ The research considers a number of factors, therefore it is not reductionist.

+ The research was cheap and easy to conduct.

+ Concurrent validity – as the method used was a review article we can say that the research is high in concurrent validity as the different pieces of research will have confirmed the others.

+ The use of a review article means that the research is high in reliability and can easily be repeated to gain the same or very similar results.

+ The use of a review article is highly ethical because the researcher has not manipulated the independent variable.

– Any issues of validity or reliability from the research which Raine used could have transferred to the results and conclusions of this research.

– There is a high likelihood that experimenter bias was present during this study, due to the fact that the researcher was taking  previous research and collecting to create this piece of research.

– Temporal bias may be present as Raine may have used outdated research.


Audio Podcast


Raine, Adrian, et al. “Prefrontal structural and functional deficits in schizotypal personality disorder.” Schizophrenia bulletin 28.3 (2002): 501-513.

Further Reading

Cortical Functions (Routledge Modular Psychology)

Raine et al., (2002) Prefrontal Deficits
Article Name
Raine et al., (2002) Prefrontal Deficits
Raine et al., (2002), one of the studies needed for the forensic psychology unit of OCR A2 Psychology. This study considers the aetiology of anti-social behaviour.