The Relationship Between Low Resting Heart Rate and Violence

  • David P. Farrington
Part of the Nato ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 292)


According to Raine (1993, pp. 166–172), one of the most replicable findings in the literature is that antisocial and violent youth tend to have low resting heart rates. A possible explanation of this is that a low heart rate indicates fearlessness. Conversely, high heart rates, especially in infants and young children, are associated with anxiety, behavioral inhibition, and a fearful temperament (Kagan, 1994). Fearful people are unlikely to commit violent acts. Another possibility is that a low heart rate reflects autonomic under-arousal. Low autonomic arousal, like boredom, leads to sensation-seeking and risk-taking in an attempt to increase stimulation and arousal levels. People who take risks are more likely to be violent than others.


Ordinary Little Square Rest Heart Rate Violent Offense Violent Offender Large Family Size 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • David P. Farrington
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of CriminologyCambridge UniversityCambridgeUK

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