White collar crime

Just read an interesting book called Anatomy of Violence that proposes, with good scientific evidence to back it up, that people who commit white collar crimes may have better ability to tune into their surroundings and have better executive functioning than normal individuals. Imaging studies such as PET scans have shown that they have an area in the brain specifically attuned to abstract rewards, especially money. In other words, their brains actually function somewhat differently from people that do not carry out such crimes. The book also profiles the brain and environmental abnormalities seen in sociopathic personalities. A really good read. It also raises the possibility that these people are predisposed biologically to commit crimes and therefore raises a question of whether “free will’ really does exist in a pure form. Maybe Bernie Madoff was biologically smarter than the people that he duped—at least until he got caught.

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