The three faces of intimate partner violence against women seen from the neuroimaging studies

Thu, 07/07/2022 - 12:55
Las tres caras de la violencia de pareja

Gender violence is a devastating problem that affects all societies around the world. This violence is a heterogeneous and multicausal phenomenon.

This study led by researchers from the University of Extremadura, with the collaboration of researcher Juan Verdejo Román, from CIMCYC, analyzed neuroimaging studies that have examined the functioning and brain structure of the three faces of gender violence: the brain characteristics of male abusers, as well as the brain sequelae in women and children who are victims of this type of violence.

In order to better understand this social problem, the results of existing research to date were discussed.

The results show a specific pattern in male perpetrators compared to other offenders and men without offenses, where brain differences seem to be linked to the processing of emotional stimuli related to women.  In addition, brain sequelae are also seen in women who have been victims of this violence, and are related to having suffered depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other anxiety disorders. Finally, global volumetric changes and alterations in brain regions were observed in child victims, which could be related to a greater vulnerability to mental illness.

In conclusion, neuroimaging techniques can be very useful in establishing patterns of brain activity and damage and, in the future, could be used to assist in forensic processes.


  • Juan Verdejo Román:

Full reference

Bueso-Izquierdo, N., Guerrero-Molina, M., Verdejo-Román, J., & Moreno-Manso, J. M. (2022). The three faces of intimate partner violence against women seen from the neuroimaging studies: A literature review. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 62, 101720.