skip to content

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 approach to social and neurocriminology focusing on how the interaction between people and settings explains behaviour. She is particularly interested in the decision making process and separating the effects of input from that of the neurocognitive machinery which processes that input on action, both via rational/deliberate and intuitive/habitual pathways.

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. 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.

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, where she finished top of her class and was awarded the Lopez-Rey Graduate Prize for her dissertation, 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 exploring 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, abuses 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 crime and practical avenues for policy and practice.

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

  • Wikström, P-O H. & Treiber, K. (2014) Towards an analytical criminology: A Situational Action Theory. In K. Boers, T. Feltes, J. Kinzig, L. W. Sherman, F. Streng & G. Trüg (eds) Kriminologie - Kriminalpolitik - Strafrect: Festschrift für Hans-Jürgen Kerner zum 70. Geburtstag. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. 319-330.
  • Treiber, K. (2013) A neuropsychological test of criminal decision making: Regional prefrontal influences in a dual process model. In J. van Gelder, H. Elffers, D. Reynald & D. Nagin (eds) Affect and cognition in criminal decision-making. London: Routledge. 193-220.
  • Wikström, P-O H., Oberwittler, D., Treiber, K. and Hardie, B. (2012) Breaking rules: The social and situational dynamics of young people's urban crime. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Wikström, P-O H., Treiber, K. & Hardie, B. (2012) Examining the role of the environment in crime causation: Small area community surveys and space-time budgets. In D. Gadd, S. Karstedt & S. Messner (eds) The Sage Handbook of Criminological Research Methods. Sage Publications Ltd.
  • Treiber, K. (2012) Life course theories of crime. In E. McLaughlin & J. Muncie (eds) The SAGE Dictionary of Criminology, 3rd Edition. SAGE.
  • Wikström, P-O H., Treiber, K. & Hardie, B. (2012) Examining the role of the environment in crime causation: Small area community surveys and space-time budgets. In D. Gadd, S. Karstedt & S. Messner (eds) The Sage Handbook of Criminological Research Methods. Sage Publications Ltd.
  • Treiber, K. (2011) The neuroscientific basis of Situational Action Theory. In A. Walsh & K. Beaver (eds) The Ashgate Research Companion to Biosocial Theories of Crime. Ashgate Press.
  • Wikström, P-O H., Ceccato, V., Hardie, B. & Treiber, K. (2010) Activity fields and the dynamics of crime. Advancing knowledge about the role of the environment in crime causation. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 26(1), pp.55-87 (Republished in Natarajan, M. (2011) Crime opportunity theories: Routine Activity, Rational Choice and their variants. Ashgate Press.)
  • Wikström, P-O H. & Treiber, K. (2009) Violence as situational action. International Journal of Conflict and Violence, 3(1), pp.75-96. (Also translated into Spanish)
  • Wikström, P-O H. & Treiber, K. (2009) What drives persistent offending? The neglected and unexplored role of the social environment. In J. Savage (ed). The development of persistent criminality. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.389-422.
  • Wikström, P-O & Treiber, K. (2008) 'Offending behaviour programmes: Cognitive behavioural and multisystemic therapies' Youth Justice Board Source Document.
  • Wikström, P-O & Treiber, K. (2007) 'The role of self-control in crime causation: Beyond Gottfredson and Hirschi's General Theory of Crime' European Journal of Criminology 4(2), 237-264
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

Contact Details