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Aim: Investigate 41 murderer's brains using PET scans to identify possible differences in the prefrontal cortex & other areas of the brain.
The method is a laboratory experiment using an independent measures design. The main independent variable is whether the participant had committed murder or not. The dependent variables were the results of the PET scans.
The study used PET scans to examine the brains of 41 people (39 males and 2 females) who were charged with murder and were pleading Not Guilty for Reasons of Insanity (NGRI), and compared them with 41 controls.
All the NGRIs were referred to the imaging centre for legal reasons, such as to obtain evidence for the defence. The reasons for the referrals were: · Schizophrenia (6 cases) · Head injury or organic damage (23) · Drug abuse (3) · Affective disorder (2) · Epilepsy (2) · Hyperactivity or learning difficulties (3) · Personality disorder (2)
Participants injected with glucose tracer to monitor metabolism of glucose. They performed a 32 minute task measuring brain activity.
The results from the subcortical areas found less activity in the corpus callosum. They also found an imbalance of activity between the two hemispheres in three other subcortical structures.
Results: In this study, compared to the controls, the pps were found to have less activity in their prefrontal and parietal areas, more activity in their occipital areas, and no difference in their temporal areas.
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