The Relationship Between Dysfunction of the Prefrontal Cortex and Antisocial Behaviour

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Review the relationship between dysfunction of the prefrontal cortex and antisocial behaviour There is evidence for a relationship between dysfunction of the prefrontal cortex and antisocial behaviour, but as to whether this evidence is strong enough to have a definitive answer is yet to be discovered. The prefrontal cortex is a complex and highly developed part of the brain making up the majority of the frontal lobe (Bear, Connors & Paradiso, 2001). It is believed that the prefrontal cortex is involved in the regulation of cognition and behaviour therefore playing a key role in our emotions and social interactions. Antisocial behaviour is a broad term covering any behaviour that causes damage and conflicts with the interests of society. This therefore includes violence, inappropriate behaviour, lack of empathy and verbal abuse which has all be associated to dysfunction of the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex plays a major role in social cognition. This is an umbrella term used for the cognitive processes for social interaction, such as inhibitory control, correct behavioural responses, and theory of mind. When damage is caused to inhibitory control it leads to emotional instability. Behaviour becomes childish, argumentative, becoming irritable quickly and finding difficulty to control mood changes (Hawkins & Trobst, 2000). Many studies have supported this idea, one in a particular, the case of Phineas Gage, foreman of a railway construction crew. An accident involving explosives sent the rod into his head and through his left frontal lobe. He survived, however his personality completely changed. From an efficient, lively character he turned into someone who was childish, impatient and irresponsible. Damasio et al (1994, as described by Carlson (2010)) believed the reason for this was due to the rod destroying the ventromedial prefrontal cortex which when functioning normally, suppresses emotional responses to suit the situation. This...
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