Howard, Richard C.
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This chapter reviews findings relating to emotional impulsiveness (EI) from the author’s work and that of others. Early work is first described that identified a neural (brain-wave) signature of EI in personality disordered offenders detained in high security. It was shown that, by categorizing offenders on the basis of this brain-wave measure as a priori high vs. low risk and following them up following their release into the community, it was possible to predict both general and violent reoffending with a modest degree of accuracy. More recent work is then described in which, in studies of personality disordered offenders, EI has been identified as a core feature of severe PD that, in part, accounts for the link between severe personality disorder and violence. It is suggested that, viewed through the lens of a hierarchical taxonomy of psychiatric disorder, EI represents a higher-order dimension that transcends particular psychiatric diagnoses and contributes to multiple forms of psychopathology. The studies reviewed herein concern male offenders, and further studies will be required to ascertain the extent to which the findings generalize to female offenders.