Criminals less aggressive and violent after brain stimulation


Criminals are more likely to have damaged brains on average. That can have a big impact on behaviour. Brain stimulation is a solution. After treatment with an electrical current through the brain, offenders are less aggressive and violent. "This is a breakthrough," says forensic psychologist Dr Josanne van Dongen.

More empathy for other people

EUR researcher Van Dongen is enthusiastic about the treatment with a brain stimulation technique: "For violent criminals, the activity in the frontal part of the brain decreases. By allowing more electricity to pass through it, the activity in the brain is increased. This ultimately leads to better can empathize with other people and therefore also a reduction in aggressive, violent and criminal behavior."

Less reaction to violent images

After the brain stimulation, the subjects are shown violent images. Much more brain activity is then measured. This indicates more empathy and less violent and criminal behaviour. "A breakthrough", according to Van Dongen.

This new technology also raises questions. Do we want this? "My answer to that is: what do we do differently if we give patients medication? That also changes people's behaviour. Of course, this method must first be approved as a treatment in healthcare. That is not yet the case at the moment."

Associate professor
More information

Forensic psychologist Dr Josanne van Dongen was interviewed by Nieuwsuur.

The scientific article about the research can be found on the website of Biological Psychiatry:CNNI.

Press questions? Marjolein Kooistra, ESSB communication, 06 83676038,

Compare @count study programme

  • @title

    • Duration: @duration
Compare study programmes