What is science revealing about the nature of the criminal mind? Adrian Raine, a professor at the university of Pennsylvania, is an expert in the expanding field of “neurocriminology.” He has written The Anatomy of Violence, a sweeping account of crime’s biological roots, including genetics, neuro-anatomy and environmental toxins like lead. He spoke with Mind Matters editor Gareth Cook.
What do you think of the argument put forward by Steven Pinker in The Better Angels of Our Nature, suggesting that violence has dropped dramatically as our social structures have changed?
The Better Angels of Our Nature was a masterful thesis that to my mind was right on the mark in its main argument – violence has indeed dropped over time. Sure, social structures that provide order and help contain violence have surely been a part of this, but the idea I particularly resonated to in Pinker’s book is the idea that thinking and reasoning has been one of our better angels. We’ve become smarter, more educated, and better able to reason, and partly for that reason we’ve moved away from violence.
Read the whole story: Scientific American