The Anatomy of Violence: Dissecting the Biological Roots of Crime

The Anatomy of Violence: Dissecting the Biological Roots of Crime


Professor Adrian Raine

Richard Perry University Professor, Departments of Criminology, Psychiatry, and Psychology, University of Pennsylvania


The rapid developments taking place in neuroscience research on crime are creating an uncomfortable tension between our concepts of responsibility and retribution on the one hand, and understanding and mercy on the other. This talk provides a brief overview of this growing body of knowledge and its implications for our future conceptualization of moral responsibility, free will, and punishment. If the neural circuitry underlying morality is compromised in offenders, how moral is it of us to punish prisoners as much as we do? Should we use biology to better predict who amongst us are predisposed to future violence? And how can we improve the brain to reduce violence?

Short bio:

For the past 39 years, Dr Raine’s interdisciplinary research has focused on the biosocial bases of antisocial and violent behaviour in both children and adults and prevention implications.  In 1986 he became Director of the Mauritius Child Health project, a longitudinal study of child mental health that today constitutes one of his key research projects.  His latest book The Anatomy of Violence reviews the brain basis of violence and draws future implications for the punishment, prediction, and prevention of offending, as well as the neuroethical concerns surrounding this work.

Presentation information:

27th October

Seminar Room, Kirby Institute

Level 6, Wallace Wurth Building

UNSW Sydney



Event Date
Friday, 27 October 2017