Synopses & Reviews
With a 4-page full-color insert, and black-and-white illustrations throughout
Why do some innocent kids grow up to become cold-blooded serial killers? Is bad biology partly to blame? For more than three decades Adrian Raine has been researching the biological roots of violence and establishing neurocriminology, a new field that applies neuroscience techniques to investigate the causes and cures of crime. In The Anatomy of Violence, Raine dissects the criminal mind with a fascinating, readable, and far-reaching scientific journey into the body of evidence that reveals the brain to be a key culprit in crime causation.
Raine documents from genetic research that the seeds of sin are sown early in life, giving rise to abnormal physiological functioning that cultivates crime. Drawing on classical case studies of well-known killers in history—including Richard Speck, Ted Kaczynski, and Henry Lee Lucas—Raine illustrates how impairments to brain areas controlling our ability to experience fear, make good decisions, and feel guilt predispose us to violence. He contends that killers can actually be coldhearted: something as simple as a low resting heart rate can give rise to violence. But arguing that biology is not destiny, he also sketches out provocative new biosocial treatment approaches that can change the brain and prevent violence.
Finally, Raine tackles the thorny legal and ethical dilemmas posed by his research, visualizing a futuristic brave new world where our increasing ability to identify violent offenders early in life might shape crime-prevention policies, for good and bad. Will we sacrifice our notions of privacy and civil rights to identify children as potential killers in the hopes of helping both offenders and victims? How should we punish individuals with little to no control over their violent behavior? And should parenting require a license? The Anatomy of Violence offers a revolutionary appraisal of our understanding of criminal offending, while also raising provocative questions that challenge our core human values of free will, responsibility, and punishment.
From the Hardcover edition.
Adrian Raine is the Richard Perry University Professor of Criminology, Psychiatry, and Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, and a leading authority on the biology of violence. After leaving secondary school to become an airline accountant, he abandoned his financial career and spent four years as a prison psychologist to understand why some individuals become violent psychopaths while others do not.
A New Scientist Best Book of 2013
Why do some kids from good environments become mass murderers? Is there actually such a thing as a natural born killer? And, if so, what can we do to identify and treat those born with a predisposition to criminal behavior?
For more than three decades Adrian Raine has sought answers to these questions through his pioneering research on the biological basis for violence. In this book, he presents the growing body of evidence that shows how genetics and environmental influences can conspire to create a criminal brain, and how something as seemingly innocent as a low resting heart rate can give rise to a violent personality. Bristling with ingenious experiments, surprising data, and shocking case studies, this is also a clear-eyed inquiry into the thorny ethical issues this science raises about prevention and punishment. Passionate, courageous, and at times controversial, The Anatomy of Violence is a ground-breaking work that will challenge your core human values and perspectives on violence.