Brain self-regulation in criminal psychopaths

Lilian Konicar, Ralf Veit, Hedwig Eisenbarth, Beatrix Barth, Paolo Tonin, Ute Strehl, Niels Birbaumer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Psychopathic individuals are characterized by impaired affective processing, impulsivity, sensation-seeking, poor planning skills and heightened aggressiveness with poor self-regulation. Based on brain self-regulation studies using neurofeedback of Slow Cortical Potentials (SCPs) in disorders associated with a dysregulation of cortical activity thresholds and evidence of deficient cortical functioning in psychopathy, a neurobiological approach seems to be promising in the treatment of psychopathy. The results of our intensive brain regulation intervention demonstrate, that psychopathic offenders are able to gain control of their brain excitability over fronto-central brain areas. After SCP self-regulation training, we observed reduced aggression, impulsivity and behavioral approach tendencies, as well as improvements in behavioral-inhibition and increased cortical sensitivity for error-processing. This study demonstrates improvements on the neurophysiological, behavioral and subjective level in severe psychopathic offenders after SCP-neurofeedback training and could constitute a novel neurobiologically-based treatment for a seemingly change-resistant group of criminal psychopaths.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9426
JournalScientific Reports
Volume5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 24 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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    Konicar, L., Veit, R., Eisenbarth, H., Barth, B., Tonin, P., Strehl, U., & Birbaumer, N. (2015). Brain self-regulation in criminal psychopaths. Scientific Reports, 5, [9426]. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep09426