Bridging Neuropsychology and Forensic Psychology: Executive Function Overlaps With the Central Eight Risk and Need Factors [2018]

Recent research expanded theoretical frameworks of criminality to include biosocial perspectives. This article advances the biosocial integration into traditional criminological theories by focusing on the potential contribution of executive function (EF) to Andrews and Bonta’s risk-need-responsivity (RNR) model. EF encompasses a collection of abilities critical to adaptive human functioning, many of which seem to underlie criminogenic risk and need factors. Although the assessment of EF can be elusive, research suggests that offenders with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) experience EF deficits. Theoretical analysis on neuropsychological and forensic concepts suggests that unitary and discrete EF domains underlie the “Central Eight” criminogenic factors that are related to criminal behavior and, by extension, the RNR model of forensic assessment and treatment. Research and conceptual limitations of the current neuropsychological and forensic literature are discussed along with the limits of our theoretical analysis. A call for more theoretical and applied forensic neuropsychological research is presented.

Jeremy Cheng, Megan E. O’Connell, J. Stephen Wormith
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, Vol 63, Issue 4, 2019