Vol. 3, No. 1 , 1997, Page 4


By Nathaniel J. Pallone and James J. Hennessy,
Transaction Publishers, Rutgers University,
New Brunswick, NJ 08903, 401 pages, 1996.

The authors describe the "tinder-box" conditions that can interact to cause the individual with neurological problems to become violent. The detailed reports on neurological problems, with over 1,300 references listed, also cause this book to be special. Want to obtain research references on how lithium affects thinking? Check the Index of Topics to find four pages which include a discussion. How neurotransmitters can cause aggression? The index lists five pages. Specific references for a subject are given, plus a highly informative assessment by authors Pallone and Hennessy.

Dr. Pallone is on leave from Rutgers, where he is a professor of psychology and criminal justice. He is the editor of Current Psychology and of the Journal of Offender Rehabilitation. His recent books include Mental Disorders Among Prisoners, Criminal Behavior, and Fraud and Fallible Judgment.

Dr. Hennessy chairs the Division of Psychological and Education Services at Fordham University. He is a frequent contributor to professional journals on psychometric methodology and advanced data analysis techniques.


"Impulsivity and psychopathic deviation are highly correlated, as are impulsivity, habituation to mood-altering substances, and certain forms of neurological anomaly, especially in the morphology and biochemistry of the left hemisphere and the frontal lobes; those who score high on measures of psychopathy customarily have few friendships (and these are often quite shallow) and are typically described as `unable to profit from experience,' so that even the aversive threat or experience of penal incarceration appears to affect their behavior minimally."

"The principal advance in criminologic theory during the past quarter century has been the marshaling of hard evidence that leads persuasively (if not yet quite compellingly) to the proposition that impulsive violence is attributable to neurogenic sources in a preponderance (perhaps even an overwhelming preponderance) of cases."

"If neurogenic criminally violent behavior is to be effectively managed, it seems clear that responsive methods of management must address such behavior at its molar roots, utilizing precisely those `specific and effective' methods that have emerged from the explosion in neuroscientific knowledge."

"The ingestion of a wide array of neurotoxic substances, ranging from caffeine and nicotine through industrial solvents or seafood infected with mercury to the deliberate use of `street drugs,' may interfere with the body's rate of production of particular neurotransmitters (typically, by altering the composition of successor metabolites) and/or with the rate of neurochemical or bioelectrical transmission."

"The frontal lobes begin to develop within 20 weeks of conception. so that continued use of alcohol (or drugs) by the mother may lead to direct brain dysmorphologies in the newborn in the very area in which foresight, planfulness, and impulse control are sited."

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