Increased executive functioning, attention, and cortical thickness in white-collar criminals

Authors

  • Adrian Raine,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Criminology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    2. Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    3. Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    • Departments of Criminology, Psychiatry, and Psychology, 3809 Walnut Street, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104
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  • William S. Laufer,

    1. Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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  • Yaling Yang,

    1. Department of Neurology, Laboratory of Neuro-Imaging, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, Los Angeles, California
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  • Katherine L. Narr,

    1. Department of Neurology, Laboratory of Neuro-Imaging, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, Los Angeles, California
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  • Paul Thompson,

    1. Department of Neurology, Laboratory of Neuro-Imaging, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, Los Angeles, California
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  • Arthur W. Toga

    1. Department of Neurology, Laboratory of Neuro-Imaging, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, Los Angeles, California
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Abstract

Very little is known on white-collar crime and how it differs to other forms of offending. This study tests the hypothesis that white-collar criminals have better executive functioning, enhanced information processing, and structural brain superiorities compared with offender controls. Using a case-control design, executive functioning, orienting, and cortical thickness was assessed in 21 white-collar criminals matched with 21 controls on age, gender, ethnicity, and general level of criminal offending. White-collar criminals had significantly better executive functioning, increased electrodermal orienting, increased arousal, and increased cortical gray matter thickness in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, inferior frontal gyrus, somatosensory cortex, and the temporal-parietal junction compared with controls. Results, while initial, constitute the first findings on neurobiological characteristics of white-collar criminals. It is hypothesized that white-collar criminals have information-processing and brain superiorities that give them an advantage in perpetrating criminal offenses in occupational settings. Hum Brain Mapp, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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