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Improving negative emotion recognition in young offenders reduces subsequent crime

Hubble, Kelly, Bowen, Katharine L., Moore, Simon Christopher and Van Goozen, Stephanie Helena Maria 2015. Improving negative emotion recognition in young offenders reduces subsequent crime. PLoS ONE 10 (6) , e0132035. 10.1371/journal.pone.0132035

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Abstract

Background Children with antisocial behaviour show deficits in the perception of emotional expressions in others that may contribute to the development and persistence of antisocial and aggressive behaviour. Current treatments for antisocial youngsters are limited in effectiveness. It has been argued that more attention should be devoted to interventions that target neuropsychological correlates of antisocial behaviour. This study examined the effect of emotion recognition training on criminal behaviour. Methods Emotion recognition and crime levels were studied in 50 juvenile offenders. Whilst all young offenders received their statutory interventions as the study was conducted, a subgroup of twenty-four offenders also took part in a facial affect training aimed at improving emotion recognition. Offenders in the training and control groups were matched for age, SES, IQ and lifetime crime level. All offenders were tested twice for emotion recognition performance, and recent crime data were collected after the testing had been completed. Results Before the training there were no differences between the groups in emotion recognition, with both groups displaying poor fear, sadness and anger recognition. After the training fear, sadness and anger recognition improved significantly in juvenile offenders in the training group. Although crime rates dropped in all offenders in the 6 months following emotion testing, only the group of offenders who had received the emotion training showed a significant reduction in the severity of the crimes they committed. Conclusions The study indicates that emotion recognition can be relatively easily improved in youths who engage in serious antisocial and criminal behavior. The results suggest that improved emotion recognition has the potential to reduce the severity of reoffending.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Dentistry
Psychology
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Additional Information: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited
Publisher: Public Library of Science
ISSN: 1932-6203
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 9 June 2015
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2019 20:27
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/74311

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