ANTISOCIAL personality1-3 is a clinical disorder whose course, mechanisms, and etiology remain unknown. Genetic, physiologic, interactional, and sociocultural etiologies have been advanced to explain this intractable behavioral disorder. In this paper we will suggest that a simple biologic defect of the sympathetic nervous system, whatever its origin, could account for the behavioral and clinical picture seen in many chronically antisocial persons.
Review of the Literature
Despite the long-standing interest, particularly by European investigators, in the biological substrates of criminal behavior, few modern American behavioral scientists have considered it relevant to examine these aspects of criminal conduct.It was not until 1949 that Funkenstein et al4 parenthetically mentioned the cardiovascular lability of chronically antisocial individuals. Funkenstein, a psychiatrist, and his colleagues reported on 15 sociopaths, 13 men and 2 women, selected from a group of court referrals to the Boston Psychopathic Hospital. They characterized these subjects ranging