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Institute of Criminology



Kyle Treiber has a background in psychology with a focus on neuroscience, and criminology with a focus on situational analysis. Her research and teaching bring these two fields together into an integrative analytic approach to explaining criminal behaviour as an outcome of the interplay between social and individual (including biological) factors. She is particularly interested in action decision making and the role experiential content, neurocognitive machinery, and the coordination of cognitive/rational/deliberate and affective/intuitive/habitual capacities play in the development of crime propensities and their expression in criminal behaviour.

Dr Treiber is Deputy Director of the multilevel, longitudinal Peterborough Adolescent of Young Adult Development Study (PADS+) and has been responsible for developing the neurocognitive and biopsychological dimensions of the study as well as its guiding theoretical framework, Situational Action Theory (SAT). Due to the nature of PADS+ as a multi-method study of people, social environments and their interaction, Dr Treiber has experience in developmental and social ecological research methods and analytical techniques, and is particularly interested in situating neuropsychological factors in a wider behavioural context. This extends into the domain of cross-comparative research and tests of SAT around the world.

Dr Treiber graduated from the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in 1997 and earned her BS in Psychology and a minor in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2001, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. She moved to Cambridge in 2002 to undertake her MPhil in Criminology and was awarded the Lopez-Rey Graduate Prize for her dissertation on Sociobiology and Crime, in which she reviewed the history of biological theories in criminology and reasons for the shift in focus towards sociological explanations, and argued for the reintroduction of biological approaches through better informed and more integrated frameworks. She went on to complete her PhD, Executive Capabilities and Crime, in 2008, using PADS+ data to explore prefrontal brain functioning and development during adolescence, and its role in moral decision-making, self-control, and crime involvement, for which she was awarded the 2008 Nigel Walker Prize.

Dr Treiber's research interests include the history of biological theories of crime, controversies, and implications for practice; the neuropsychology of criminal decision making and the role of cognition and emotion; and the interaction between neurocriminological factors and social environmental influences, including gene x environment interactions. A key focus of her research and her teaching is the integration of neuropsychological and criminological knowledge to advance our understanding of criminal behaviour and practical avenues for policy and practice.

Dr Treiber contributes to teaching on the MPhil in Criminology and Criminological Research Programmes, of which she was Director from 2016-2019, the MST programmes in Applied Criminology, and undergraduate Law. Her courses cover Neurocriminology; Character, Criminogenic Circumstances, Crime and Criminal Careers; Criminological Theories; Criminological Research Methods; and Dissertation Writing. She welcomes PhD students pursuing topics relating to neurocriminology, theory testing, Situational Action Theory, Analytic Criminology, situational interactions, moral decision making, controls, longitudinal and cross-comparative research.

Dr Treiber is currently Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of Criminology, and a member of the Executive Board of the European Society of Criminology. She also serves on the Board for Oxford University Press’s Clarendon Studies in Criminology, of which she was a General Editor from 2016-2021.

For more on the Centre for Analytic Criminology, see For more on PADS+, see For more on the genesis of PADS+ via the ESRC Priority Network for the Study of Social Contexts in Crime (SCoPiC), see


Key publications: 

Selected Publications

University Lecturer in Neurocriminology
Director of the Institute of Criminology's M.Phil. Programme
NC School of Science & Mathematics, 1997
BS (Neuroscience + Technical Writing), University of NC at Chapel Hill, 2001
M.Phil. (Criminology), University of Cambridge, 2003
Ph.D. (Criminology), University of Cambridge, 2008
Dr.  Kyle  Treiber

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