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New Study Points to Correlation Between Low Resting Heart Rate and Violent Tendencies

Our society consistently looks to figure out what characteristics and traits can predict criminal behavior. For hundreds of years, studies were conducted looking at physical traits, genetic makeup, and any physical hints as to why some people act in a certain behavior. Even though no one profile fits what a criminal is and motives tend to be the real motivating factor for commission of an offense, researchers have stumbled upon yet another study, regarding the physical traits that lead to violent or criminal proclivities.

Aggressive and Antisocial People Have Lower Resting Heart Rates

According to the recent study published in Time magazine, a Swedish study found that aggressive and antisocial people (personality traits that correlate with criminal behavior) actually have lower resting heart rates than others. A low resting heart rate was defined in the study as 60 beats per minute or fewer.

The Swedish Study Behind the Correlation

The study examined 710,264 Swedish men born between 1958 and 1991 that were 18 years old (18 years is more or less the age at which criminal activity in men is considered at its apex). The study went into details about the pasts of these men, reviewing their criminal violent and nonviolent convictions, as well as any serious injuries or deaths that resulted from any assaults. Physical fitness abilities were controlled as well, since the higher the level of physical fitness, the lower the resting heart rate would be.

Men with Violent Criminal Convictions Had Lower Resting Heart Rates Than Non-Violent Men

The study’s ultimate finding was that those men who had violent criminal convictions had substantially lower resting heart rates as compared to men with limited or nonviolent criminal tendencies. Those in the lowest resting heart rate group were 39 percent more likely than other men compared to have committed violent crimes, and they were 25 percent more likely than other men compared to have committed nonviolent crimes.

The Fearlessness Theory: Reasoning Behind the Study

The reasoning behind the correlation between low resting heart rate and violent tendencies might have to do with the fact that it takes more of a “jolt” or an extreme situation for the man’s heart rate to escalate. The feeling of adrenaline that pushes your heart to beat quickly is an innate signal to the body that it is either in danger or in a situation that requires heightened senses. Because the men with the lowest heart rate are not signaled in the same way, they may need to put themselves in a more dangerous, adrenaline-inducing situation before they may feel the rush that leads to the increase in heart rhythms. Researchers have named this phenomena the “fearlessness theory”.

Study is Not Indicative of General Population

The study does not mean, however, that police officers or the criminal justice system will be measuring the resting heart rate of potential criminals in an effort to predict who may be violent and who may not be. The study still has specific issues that need to be assessed before the information is valuable to researchers. For example, the population assessed comprised only Swedish males; other populations may have different correlations.

Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Fort Lauderdale

Violent crime can carry significant penalties and sentences. It is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney like Kevin J. Kulik who can provide guidance on the criminal proceedings process. Contact Kevin J. Kulik today for a free and confidential consultation in the Fort Lauderdale area.

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