Classification and treatment of antisocial individuals: From behavior to biocognition

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Abstract

Antisocial behavior is a heterogeneous construct that can be divided into subtypes, such as antisocial personality and psychopathy. The adverse consequences of antisocial behavior produce great burden for the perpetrators, victims, family members, and for society at-large. The pervasiveness of antisocial behavior highlights the importance of precisely characterizing subtypes of antisocial individuals and identifying specific factors that are etiologically related to such behaviors to inform the development of targeted treatments. The goals of the current review are (1) to briefly summarize research on the operationalization and assessment of antisocial personality and psychopathy; (2) to provide an overview of several existing treatments with the potential to influence antisocial personality and psychopathy; and (3) to present an approach that integrates and uses biological and cognitive measures as starting points to more precisely characterize and treat these individuals. A focus on integrating factors at multiple levels of analysis can uncover person-specific characteristics and highlight potential targets for treatment to alleviate the burden caused by antisocial behavior.

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