5 Fragen an…Kent Kiehl


Prof. Ph.D. Kent KiehlKent Kiel

  • Psychopathie-Forschung (Behandlung, neuropsychologische Grundlagen, Implikationen von Psychopathie für das Rechtssystem)
  • Diagnostik von Psychopathie: Hare PCI-R (Training von Anwendern dieses Diagnoseinstruments)
  • Neuroimaging und psychische Störungen
  • Neuroscience and Law – Workshops mit Richtern (Psychoedukation über Neuroscience, Psychopathie, Schizophrenie), gerichtlicher Gutachter (Neuroscience und Psychopathie im Rechtssystem)
  • Kognition von Waltieren (Ableitung von EEG zur Messung kognitiver Funktionen bei Delfinen und Walen)


5 Fragen an …

Kent Kiehl


[highlight style=“platinum“]1a. At the very beginning of your studies, what did you imagine you’d end up doing/being after you got your degree? [/highlight]

My aspirations were academic, I wanted to teach and do research at the university level. At heart, I wanted to be an educator. This is one of the reasons why I wrote a book on psychopaths for the public, to educate. For more see this page.


[highlight style=“platinum“]1b. How did you get into the intersection of psychology, neuroscience and law? [/highlight]

During my graduate work in Canada I served as a ‘risk assessment’ diagnostician, I helped evaluate whether inmates were low, medium or high risk to re-offend following release from prison. We used actuarial instruments at the time and this was my first encounter with the criminal justice system. Subsequently the neuroscience research my group has conducted raised questions about criminal responsibility, punishment and treatment—this led to me being invited to educate judges and lawyers about neuroscience and law. I’ve been giving lectures to judicial audiences about once a month for the last five years.


[highlight style=“platinum“]1c. How is the legal system coping with and adjusting to findings from your area of research? [/highlight]

It can be a struggle. Neuroscience is a completely foreign topic to most lawyers. It’s going to take some time for them to adjust to the new science.


[highlight style=“platinum“]2. Which part of your work as a psychologist have you enjoyed most up until now? Does one project come to mind which made you the happiest? (Why?) [/highlight]

I set out to understand how psychopaths’ brains differ from the rest of us. I think we have answered that question. We know that parts of the limbic (emotional brain) are abnormal in psychopaths, starting as early as age 14. We hope to translate this work into better treatment and management strategies for high risk individuals.


[highlight style=“platinum“]3. If you could go back in time and give your student-self any piece of advice, what would that be? Would you do it?[/highlight]

I have been very fortunate in my academic career, so it’s hard to second guess past choices. However, I do wish that I had continued programming, at least in Matlab. I really enjoyed programming but had to give it up to focus on writing grants… I wish I had been able to find a balance between writing grants and programming. I miss programming.


[highlight style=“platinum“]4. Is there anything you wish to tell all psychology students; something you think each of us should know?[/highlight]

I tell all my students in psychology to write. Write blogs, write papers. Keep on writing, it exercises your brain and helps digest lots of information.


[highlight style=“platinum“]5. And finally: please tell us your favorite (preferably psychology-related) joke! [/highlight]

In a text message:

Mike: What’s your address?
Mike: No dork, what’s your physical address?
John: 00:25:B5:AA:01:1F


[highlight style=“platinum“]BONUS-QUESTION: who do you think should answer our 5 questions next?[/highlight]

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong.


Thank you very much for the interview!