Name of Institution Essay Example

  • Category:
  • Document type:
  • Level:
  • Page:
  • Words:

7Limbic Neural Maldevelopment in Antisocial Personality Disorder and Psychopathy

Limbic Neural Maldevelopment in Antisocial Personality Disorder and Psychopathy

Limbic Neural Maldevelopment in Antisocial Personality Disorder and Psychopathy

Violence and other forms of antisocial behaviours have risen at a significant rate and this has attracted researchers to investigate the root cause of the increased aggression. Scientists have always connected violence and antisocial behaviour to Limbic Neural Maldevelopment although they had gone as far as that. It is believed that brain maldevelopment led to Cavum Septum Pellucidum (CSP), which contributes to extra aggression in people hence their antisocial behaviour. Causes of maldevelopment have not been identified although researchers argue that to greater extents; it is due to exposure of extreme conditions during pregnancy and the first three months after birth. If a baby is exposed to, alcoholic caregivers, other traumatizing experiences their brain development is affected, and they are not able to form biosocial attachments to people around them (Oliveira-Souza, et al, 2008). This affects them in their latter life and develops antisocial behaviours as a defence mechanism.

A research was conducted in an attempt to establish the relationship between neurodevelopment and antisocial and psychopathy as it was prior posited that they have a relationship. They were testing the impact of Cavum Septum Pellucidum (CSP), which marks the degree of Limbic Neural Maldevelopment on antisocial behaviours in human and animals. CSP was examined using anatomical –Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). The sample group was collected within the community at random (Raine, Lee, Yang, & Colletti, 2010). The comparison was between those with CSP and those who lacked and the behaviours of the individuals of each group were analyzed independently. The sample group was composed of seventy-five males and twelve females. The participants were either below twenty-one years or above forty-six years (Raine, Buchsbaum, & LaCasse, 1997). They were of mixed ethnicities and those who had different background experiences. Various medical doctors and psychologists were present to diagnose the different forms of antisocial behaviours.

The results showed that in comparison with those individuals who had no CSP, those who had, showed greater degree of psychopathic behaviours, antisocial disorders, and general criminal tendencies. This was further proved when the control group demonstrated similar results. The similarity of the experimental and control group is an evidence that antisocial tendencies cannot primarily be attributed to individual traumatic past, effects from head injuries but to existing differences on individuals Limbic Neural Maldevelopment. This experiment served to confirm the earlier posits that there is a strong link between development of limbic and septal structure in the early months of growth and the psychological behaviours of an individual. Those who had maldevelopment have higher tendencies of demonstrating antisocial behaviours (Raine, Lee, Yang, & Colletti, 2010).

Septal Nuclei are responsible for modifying individual behaviours according to societal cultural beliefs. Septal Nuclei are manufactured in cavumseptum pellucidum (CSP), which is the main reason why maldevelopment at early stages would alter its proper functioning. Septal nuclei is associated with aggression, antisocial behaviors involves some use of aggression thus presence of maldevelopment of CSP will definitely lead to antisocial and psychopathic tendencies. Maldevelopment results from maternal deprivation in the very early stages of development (Blair, 2008). In this stage, affection is crucial in building a strong bond between a child and the people around. When attachment is not made, development of septal system is affected. Children feel unaccepted and start building defence mechanisms to fit in the environment hence development of the antisocial behaviours. Various other researches and survey have been conducted in an attempt to understand the antisocial behaviours and the results points to one fact that there is a direct relationship between antisocial behaviours and brain maldevelopment (Davidson, Putnam, & Larson, 2000).

Before the research was conducted, this posit was not only done to aggressive adults but also to babies who have been exposed to traumatic experiences after birth, the expectant mother was stressed throughout her expectancy, and those whose care givers are drug and alcohol abusers. Those experiences are thought to affect brain development resulting to CSP that contribute to a child’s future antisocial and psychotic characters (Raine, Stoddard, Bihrle, & Buchsbaum, 1998). All these hypothesis and findings of research are just evidence that since CSP is made within the first six months of life, brain maldevelopment is not likely to be influenced by psychosocial factors that has been found in some of adult Imaging Studies.

Antisocial behaviours are distinctly defined and refer to unrelated issues. The only thing that links them is the fact that they trace their roots to neurodevelopmental factor and not the external characters demonstrated by individuals. In the research CSP for the antisocial behaviour remained even in the control group for psychiatric group, it was concluded that there were other factors that distinguishes the antisocial behaviours, psychopathic and individuals’ criminal acts (Blair, 2008). Therefore, other factors cannot be ruled out as contributors to antisocial and psychotic behaviours. Further researches and experiments should be done to find the Limbic Neural Maldevelopment posit after the sixth month and the effects to human behaviours (Viding, & Jones, 2008).

It can be concluded that although CSP is not solely to blame for antisocial behaviours exhibited by human beings, it plays a significant part. This has been supported by the finding of the research conducted in an attempt to find the relationship between antisocial behaviours and neurodevelopment (Sterzer, et al, 2007; Raine, Buchsbaum, & LaCasse, 1997). It is therefore possible to protect these unfavourable traits in humans through taking care of children’s development and growth especially at the early months and before the child is born. Parental guidance and biosocial programs should be offered to caregiver to help them understand the important roles they hold in shaping the psychological status of their children. With this, over ninety percent of the antisocial cases associated with limbic maldevelopment will be eliminated (Damasio, 1994; Kiehl, 2006). Scientists argue together with that, physical exercises helps in the development of neurogenesis. At the same time, CPS is heritable thus; elimination will not only save the individual but even future generations (Laakso, et al, 2000).

In conclusion, the research was successful and the results supported that antisocial behaviours, criminal acts, and psychopathy were largely contributed by limbic neural maldevelopment. Various other researchers have been conducted and the results are that there is a strong relationship of people who has had bad experiences in their childhood and the adults with antisocial behaviours. This does not however mean that it is the only reason. Further researches are to be conducted to investigate if brain development is affected after the sixth month from birth. Other factors such as physical effects for example head injuries could also be thought to have impacts. It was recommended that to reduce the problem, there was need to offer biosocial educational programs to parents and care givers to curb the main cause of the problem.


Blair, R. (2008). The amygdala and ventromedial prefrontal cortex: functional

Contributions and dysfunction in psychopathy. Philos Trans R Soc B Bio Science 363, 2557–65.

Damasio, A. (1994). Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain. New York, NY: G. P Putnam’s Sons.

Davidson, R., Putnam, K., & Larson, C. (2000). Dysfunction in the neural circuitry of

Emotion regulation – a possible prelude to violence. Science 289,


Kiehl, K. (2006). A cognitive neuroscience perspective on psychopathy: evidence for

paralimbic system dysfunction. Psychiatry Resources 142, 107–28.

Laakso, M., Vaurio, O., Savolainen, L., Repo, E., Soininen, H., & Aronen, H.

(2000). A volumetric MRI study of the hippocampus in type 1 and 2 alcoholism.

Behav Brain Res 109, 177–86.

Oliveira-Souza, R., Hare, R., Bramati, I., Garrido, G., Ignacio, F., & Tovar-Moll, F. (2008). Psychopathy as a disorder of the moral brain: fronto-temporo-limbic grey matter reductions demonstrated by voxel-based morphometry. Neuroimage 40, 1202–13.

Raine, A., Buchsbaum, M., & LaCasse, L. (1997). Brain abnormalities in murderers

indicated by positron emission tomography. Biology Psychiatry 42, 495–508.

Raine, A., Lee, L., Yang, Y., & Colletti, P. (2010). Neurodevelopmental Marker for Limbic Maldevelopment in Antisocial Personality Disorder and Psychopathy. The British Journal of Psychiatry 197, 186-192. Retrieved 9 April, 2011 from,

Raine, A., Stoddard, J., Bihrle, S., & Buchsbaum, M. (1998). Prefrontal glucose deficits in

Murderers lacking psychosocial deprivation. Neuropsychiatry Neuropsychol Behav Neurol 11, 1–7.

Sterzer, P., Stadler, C., Poustka, F., & Kleinschmidt, A. (2007). A structural neural deficit in

adolescents with conduct disorder and its association with lack of empathy. NeuroImage 37, 335–42.

Viding, E., & Jones, A. (2008). Cognition to genes via the brain in the study of conduct

disorder. Q J Exp Psychol 61, 171–81.