Self-regulation and aggressive antisocial behaviour: insights from amygdala-prefrontal and heart-brain interactions

S.M. Gillespie, A. Brzozowski, I.J. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Explanations of aggressive and antisocial behaviour often refer to impairments in self-regulation, or the ability to implement control over ones thoughts, emotions and behaviours. However, the evidence that impaired self-regulation is associated with antisocial behaviour is somewhat mixed, and is likely to depend on the type (e.g. reactive versus proactive aggression) and severity of the antisocial behaviour. The amygdala and prefrontal cortex are critically involved in the process of self-regulation, and neuroimaging and behavioural methods, including the role of executive functions, have been used to study abnormalities of prefrontal structure and function in individuals who display aggressive and antisocial behaviours. The functioning of these circuits is also influenced by activity of the autonomic nervous system, and a robust and consistent relationship has been observed between low resting heart rate and violent and non-violent crime. Understanding the mechanisms underlying this relationship may lead to the development of interventions aimed at reducing aggressive and antisocial behaviour based on a well-defined mechanism of change. Neuroimaging and physiology research on heart-brain interactions offers new insights in to the role of self-regulation in aggressive and antisocial behaviour, and for understanding who might benefit the most from interventions aimed at improving self-regulation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-257
JournalPsychology, Crime and Law
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


Dive into the research topics of 'Self-regulation and aggressive antisocial behaviour: insights from amygdala-prefrontal and heart-brain interactions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this