5-speed listening (Brain Size - Level 3)

Criminals have smaller brain size, says study


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A new study has found that antisocial people are more likely to have smaller areas of their brain. Researchers said criminals' brains had a different structure to the brains of people who followed the law. The study is published in the journal "Lancet Psychiatry". Researchers used data from 672 people born in 1972-73. They looked at records of the people's antisocial behaviour between the ages of seven and 26. At the age of 45, the researchers scanned the people's brains. Eighty of the people had a history of criminal and antisocial behaviour from being early teenagers. Researchers found that the areas of the brain linked to emotions, motivation and behaviour control were smaller in the long-term criminals' brains.

Professor Terrie Moffitt, a co-author of the research, said the research could help doctors understand what is behind long-term antisocial behaviour. She said the antisocial people in the study may have behaved badly because of their brain structure. She said: "They are actually operating under some [disability] at the level of the brain." She added that because of this, we needed to care for these people in a kinder way. Lead author Dr Christina Carlisi said: "Differences in brain structure might make it difficult for people to develop social skills. This may prevent them from engaging in antisocial behaviour. These people could benefit from more support throughout their lives."

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