Background: For the followers of criminal anthropology, during the second half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, the association “anatomical anomaly – psyche anomaly” represented an immediate diagnostic tool to identify mental illness and consequently the tendency to become a criminal. In this article, we analyse a clinical report published in 1900 in which the author, Dr. Saporito, described five brains of alienated criminals from the Aversa asylum. Methods: Through the observations of Dr. Saporito's autoptic evaluations and the literature of the times, the beliefs of the positivist science of that time are highlighted. Results: The identification of multiple physical anomalies focused on the brains, with particular attention to the alteration at the level of some fissures, could lead to identify psychiatric disorders and criminal tendency. Conclusions: From the observations presented here, the author reiterated that several anomalies recorded in these five brains reproduced atavistic characteristics, which disappeared in the ontogenetic and phylogenetic evolution of the human brain.

Five brains of alienated criminals. Neurological investigations of early twentieth century criminal anthropology

Licata M.;Larentis O.
;
2021

Abstract

Background: For the followers of criminal anthropology, during the second half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, the association “anatomical anomaly – psyche anomaly” represented an immediate diagnostic tool to identify mental illness and consequently the tendency to become a criminal. In this article, we analyse a clinical report published in 1900 in which the author, Dr. Saporito, described five brains of alienated criminals from the Aversa asylum. Methods: Through the observations of Dr. Saporito's autoptic evaluations and the literature of the times, the beliefs of the positivist science of that time are highlighted. Results: The identification of multiple physical anomalies focused on the brains, with particular attention to the alteration at the level of some fissures, could lead to identify psychiatric disorders and criminal tendency. Conclusions: From the observations presented here, the author reiterated that several anomalies recorded in these five brains reproduced atavistic characteristics, which disappeared in the ontogenetic and phylogenetic evolution of the human brain.
Asylum of Aversa; Brain anomalies; Criminal anthropology; Criminal tendency; Neuropsychiatric disorders; Neuropsychiatry
Licata, M.; Larentis, O.; Tesi, C.; Fusco, R.; Tonina, E.; Ciliberti, R.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11383/2139665
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