The Anatomy of Violence

The Anatomy of Violence

The Biological Roots of Crime

Book - 2013 | 1st ed. --
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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.
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, c2013.
Edition: 1st ed. --
ISBN: 9780307378842
Characteristics: xv, 478 p. : ill. (some col.)


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Levi_Hayes Oct 27, 2015

This book was alright. While it was enlightening on certain aspects, others were fairly obvious and trying to get through the 373 pages (100+ were the notes section) took forever. Partially because it is nonfiction and dry, but mostly because every third paragraph or so, Raine states "here's what was in the last chapters--and the last two paragraphs!" and just drills it into your brain. I'm sure the book could have been at least half the size if all that had been removed. He also starts sentences/paragraphs with 'indeed' a lot, which was driving me crazy because my psychology/sociology textbooks do the same thing.
But what bothered me the most is all the studies he referenced that needed to be controlled for confounds--such as low socioeconomic status, low IQ, etc--he merely said "they controlled for the factors and the results were the same". It might be controlled the same way in every case, but as a reader I'd like to know how they controlled these studies. Because, as that reader, having Raine skim over those super-important details makes me quite skeptical of the true significance of the results and the studies themselves.

May 03, 2013

Mr. Raine was recently interviewed on Fresh Air on NPR. The subject matter and Mr. Raine, himself, was quite fascinating. Enough so that I want to read his book and have placed a hold. As a researcher and a victim of crime, too, he often feels conflicted about what he has learned about the criminal brain and how he feels about the criminal activity.

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