2006 issue 3


Volume 15, issue 3

Review article

Neurobiological characteristics of selected homicidal behaviour types - clinical and criminal aspects

1. Zakładu Psychologii Klinicznej i Neuropsychologii Instytutu Psychologii Uniwersytetu Marii Curie-Skłodowskiej w Lublinie
2. Wydziału do Walki z Terrorem Kryminalnym i Zabójstw Komendy Stołecznej Policji w Warszawie
3. Zespołu Psychologów Wydziału Kadr Komendy Stołecznej Policji w Warszawie
Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii 2006; 15 (3): 155-185
Keywords: syndrome E, abandonment homicide, limbic psychotic trigger reaction, criminological neuroprofiling


Objectives. Three selected homicidal behaviours are characterised in the paper. An attempt was made to show a possible application of neuropsychiatric knowledge to understanding such a specific behaviour as homicide. Moreover, formal aspects of the relationship between brain functioning and crime are indicated, which in the future may provide a scientific basis for criminological neuroprofiling.

Review. The authors outline specific neurobiological mechanisms underlying Syndrome E, i.e. a set of features of perpetrators who commit crime against an innocent victim because of their obsessive identification with some ideology. In a similar way the so-called abandonment homicide is described. The latter is a homicide committed during a transient disorganization of the brain stress resistance system. The third homicidal behaviour is the limbic psychotic trigger reaction - an atypical form of epileptic seizure evoked by a remembrance of a specific event. The authors propose that characteristics of perpetrators' neurobiological processes can be linked with crimino-logical analysis of circumstances of the committed crime.

Conclusions. Although the described mechanisms are hypothetical, it seems that the current knowledge about the CNS functioning may enable us to understand better some types of homicidal behaviour. An empirical verification of the above-mentioned hypothetical relationship between brain functioning and crime may contribute to an improvement of strategies of construing such forensic activities as interrogation of the perpetrator, reconstruction of his/her motives, as well as to issuing forensic opinion about the homicide perpetrator 's accountability .

Address for correspondence:
Mgr Paweł Krukow, Zakład Psychologii Klinicznej i Neuropsychologii Instytutu Psychologii Uniwersytetu Marii Curie-Skłodowskiej, Pl. Litewski 5, 20-080 Lublin, e-mail: pkrukow@poczta.onet.pl