Marianne Kristiansson´s research group

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Social neuroscience, risk behavior and law

Overall, our research aims to investigate violent behavior from a public health perspective. During recent years, there has been an increased demand for knowledge about particular health-related consequences of violence, including secondary consequences of trauma. Violence, trauma, physical-and mental health could be associated through complex interactions between the central nervous system and the immune system. I have expertise in three medical specialties; forensic psychiatry, anesthesiology, and pain relief. My aim is that the research I conduct should also be multidisciplinary.

Research Projects

I have initiated and carry the main responsibility for running three research programs at the Department of clinical neuroscience at KI: the neuro program, the risk program, and the treatment- and innovations program. A common goal for these programs is to generate knowledge about context specific risk-and protective factors for violent behavior, which can be used in the broader society.

In the neuro program, we are exploring biological correlates of emotional activity and reactivity, with an emphasis on empathy, deviant behavior, aggression, and violence. In previous studies, we have investigated brain structure and function with brain imaging techniques (sMRI and fMRI) in offenders with various degree of deficient empathy. In an upcoming project, we are collaborating with ass professor Predrag Petrovic, KI, in a study where we will investigate brain structure and function in offenders with different empathic ability and emotional regulation. Moreover, we are collaborating with professor Jari Tiihonen, KI, in a large project on genetic factors, specifically regarding associations between candidate genes and degree of psychopathy in clients from the Swedish Prison and Probation Service. In the risk program, different risk assessment instruments are validated among clients from general-and forensic psychiatric services, as well as from correctional services. The treatment- and innovations program aims to develop interactive, computer based treatment models for assessing risk of deviant behavior, treatment of offenders, and education of staff in forensic-and correctional services.

In addition to my position at KI, I am also Head of Department of Forensic Psychiatry in Stockholm, National Board of Forensic Medicine. At the department, we are conducting various research projects, several of which are based on an aggregate database on lethal violence over a three-year period. The database has been created and is maintained in collaboration with the Department of forensic genetics and forensic toxicology in Linköping, and the Department of forensic medicine in Uppsala. The database includes information on both perpetrators and victims. In one of the studies, characteristics of lethal violence in intimate partner relationships, including same-sex relationships, are investigated. In this project, characteristics of female perpetrators are also investigated. In another project, the quality of risk assessments of life-sentenced offenders, as well as their post-discharge misconduct and degree of relapse, is investigated.  

Starting in 2001, Marianne Kristiansson has taught a specialist course once or twice yearly, in forensic psychiatric-assessment and care, for medical students in psychiatry, forensic psychiatry and child-and adolescent psychiatry. 

Selected Publications

Forensic mental health professionals' perceptions of psychopathy: a prototypicality analysis of the Comprehensive Assessment of Psychopathic Personality in Sweden.
Sörman K, Edens J, Smith S, Svensson O, Howner K, Kristiansson M, et al
Law Hum Behav 2014 Oct;38(5):405-17

Field reliability of the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised among life sentenced prisoners in Sweden.
Sturup J, Edens J, Sörman K, Karlberg D, Fredriksson B, Kristiansson M
Law Hum Behav 2014 Aug;38(4):315-24

Thinner cortex in the frontal lobes in mentally disordered offenders.
Howner K, Eskildsen S, Fischer H, Dierks T, Wahlund L, Jonsson T, et al
Psychiatry Res ;203(2-3):126-31

Attenuated subjective ratings and skin conductance responses to neutral and negative pictures in non-psychopathic mentally disordered offenders with various diagnoses.
Wahlund K, Sorman K, Gavazzeni J, Fischer H, Kristiansson M
Psychiatry Res 2010 Nov;180(1):30-4

Aggression, psychopathy and brain imaging - Review and future recommendations.
Wahlund K, Kristiansson M
Int J Law Psychiatry ;32(4):266-71

Group members

Anette JohanssonAssociated, Postdoc
Anna JinghedeAssociated
Charlotte PollakGraduate Student
Claes LernestedtAssociated
E. Martin LardénGraduate Student
Eva BjerkeAssociated
Jenny LiljebergAssociated
Joakim GavazzeniAssociated
Joakim SturupAssociated, Postdoc
John EdensAssociated
Jonatan HedlundGraduate Student
Katarina HownerAssociated, Postdoc
Malin PauliGraduate Student
Marianne KristianssonAssociated, Research team leader, Adjunct professor
Mats PerssonGraduate Student
Per LindqvistAssociated
Shilan CamanGraduate Student
Thomas MastermanAssociated
Tom PalmstiernaAssociated
Ulrika HaggårdAssociated
Åsa BlomströmAssociated