Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
First Committee Member
Number of Pages
It has long been recognized that damage to one or more brain regions can produce antisocial and aggressive behavior. Unfortunately, however, attempts to develop a replicable neurocognitive profile that characterize serious forms of criminality have been relatively unsuccessful. Evidence of cognitive heterogeneity in violent offender populations may indicate different biobehavioral subtypes underling this complex multidetermined behavior. These subtypes may interact with other clinical and environmental vulnerabilities. In the current study, cluster analytic techniques were applied to a sample of 55 homicide offenders. Using select Halstead-Reitan and Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) variables four distinct cognitive clusters were derived and externally validated (i.e., "neuropsychologically normal", "verbal learning", "borderline IQ/impaired", and "severely impaired" cognitive clusters). Meaningful differences between the clusters were found on primary violence subtype (i.e., Reactive versus Instrumental), secondary violence variables, history of mental illness/presence of psychotic symptoms at the time of the crime, TBI history, reading grade level, number of perpetrators, and age of the perpetrator at the time of the crime. Findings suggest the presence of theoretically coherent and clinically relevant neuropsychological subtypes.
Cognitive; Cognitive Heterogeneity; Heterogeneity; Murderers; Neuropsychology
Clinical psychology; Criminology; Psychobiology
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Warnick, Erin, "Cognitive heterogeneity in murderers" (2005). UNLV Retrospective Theses & Dissertations. 2671.