Although investigation of the brains of criminals began quite early in the history of psychophysiological research, little is known about brain plasticity of offenders with psychopathy. Building on our preliminary study reporting successful brain self-regulation using slow cortical potential (SCP) neurofeedback in offenders with psychopathy, we investigated the central nervous and autonomic peripheral changes occurring after brain self-regulation in a group of severe male offenders with psychopathy. Regarding the central nervous system, an overall suppression of the psychopathic overrepresentation of slow frequency bands was found, such as delta and theta band activity, after EEG neurofeedback. In addition, an increase in alpha band activity could be observed after the SCP self-regulation training. Electrodermal activity adaptively changed according to the regulation task, and this flexibility improved over training time. The results of this study point towards a constructive learning process and plasticity in neural and peripheral measures of offenders with psychopathy.
GrantsBrain Products (Gilching, Germany) Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research foundation) Graduate School of Neural & Behavioral Sciences | International Max Planck Research School at the University of Tubingen International Centre for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities (IZEW) at the University of Tubingen