Renzo Di Cori

Between reductionism and complexity. Developmental pathways of antisocial behavior

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In recent years research on youth antisocial behaviors has been enriched with increasingly sophisticated knowledge thanks to advances in the neurosciences. While sharing the enthusiasm for these important goals in understanding the neurobiological and epigenetic mechanisms involved in many psychopathological manifestations, including juvenile offending, the author claims that deviant, delinquent phenomena in the developmental age require complex explanatory models. Talking exclusively of neurobiological functioning or genetic arrangement as univocal determinants of criminality, represents an epistemic error that can lead to the adoption of ineffective intervention models. The author proposes therefore a model inspired to the Developmental Psychopathology, a paradim that considers the multilevel reality of the individual (neurobiological and genetic, relational-social and individual), to explain the evolutionary pathways – from genes to brain circuits, from temperament to experiences of early relationships and interactions with the environment – along which antisocial behaviour become life-course persistent.


  • Adolescence
  • antisocial behaviour life-course persistent
  • reductionism
  • complexity
  • developmental psychopathology


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