The impact of physical exercise on antisocial behavior: A neurocognitive perspective

Dylan B. Jackson, Kevin M. Beaver

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter examines some of the literature that has explored the links among physical exercise, brain structure and functioning, and antisocial phenotypes. It analyses the relationship between executive dysfunction and antisocial behavior in conjunction with the benefits of physical exercise on executive functioning. The chapter reviews the hippocampal abnormalities and dysfunction as an explanation of offending, together with research demonstrating the structural and functional improvements to the hippocampus that can result from exercise. It outlines the role of monoamines in the production of antisocial behavior along with the effect of exercise on the production and synthesis of monoamines. The chapter discusses the relationship between diminished brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and criminogenic traits. It also discusses the feasibility of physical exercise as a core feature of offender treatment. The chapter expresses that an exercise training program can serve as a potential option to reduce antisocial phenotypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Wiley Blackwell Handbook of Forensic Neuroscience
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781118650868
ISBN (Print)9781118650929
StatePublished - Feb 15 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Antisocial phenotypes
  • Brain-derived neurotrophic factor
  • Criminogenic traits
  • Hippocampal abnormalities
  • Monoamines
  • Offender treatment
  • Physical exercise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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