Dr Stephane De Brito BSc, MPhil, PhD

Dr Stephane De Brito

School of Psychology
Associate Professor

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr De Brito is a psychologist and director of the Social, Cognitive, Affective, and Neuroscience (SCAN) lab. Research in the SCAN lab focuses on understanding the mechanistic interplay between the social, cognitive, affective, and neurocognitive factors implicated in the development and persistence of antisocial and aggressive behaviour. A second strand of research examines those aspects among youths who have experienced early adversity.

SCAN Lab: www.bhamscanlab.wordpress.com


BSc. (Hons) Psychology, University of Geneva (1999-2003)

M.Phil. Criminology, Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge (2003-2004)

Ph.D. Forensic Mental Health Science, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London (2005-2009)

Postgraduate supervision

Dr De Brito’s research uses behavioural, neurocognitive and structural/functional magnetic resonance brain imaging techniques to better understand the characteristics of different subgroups of children and adults displaying severe antisocial behaviour and psychopathic traits. A second strand of his research interests is to better understand patterns of resilience and vulnerability in children and adults who have experienced early adversity. The goals are to clarify why some individuals who have experienced early adversity show resilience while others do not, whether individuals who have experienced early adversity process emotions differently, and whether structural and functional neural markers of resilience can be identified.

Dr De Brito considers PhD applications on a rolling basis. Students interested in working on topics related to his research and with a strong academic track record should email him in the first instance.


Highlight publications

De Brito, SA, Forth, AE, Baskin-Sommers, AR, Brazil, IA, Kimonis, ER, Pardini, D, Frick, PJ, Blair, RJR & Viding, E 2021, 'Psychopathy', Nature Reviews Disease Primers, vol. 7, no. 1, 49, pp. 49. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41572-021-00282-1

Diaconu, B, Kohls, G, Rogers, JC, Pauli, R, Cornwell, H, Bernhard, A, Martinelli, A, Ackermann, K, Fann, N, Fernandez-Rivas, A, Gonzalez-Torres, MA, Gonzalez de Artaza-Lavesa, M, Hervas, A, Stadler, C, Konrad, K, Freitag, CM, Fairchild, G, Rotshtein, P & De Brito, SA 2023, 'Emotion processing in maltreated boys and girls: evidence for latent vulnerability', European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-022-02132-1

Todorov, J, Devine, RT & De Brito, S 2023, 'Association between childhood maltreatment and callous-unemotional traits in youth: a meta-analysis', Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews, vol. 146, 105049. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2023.105049

Fairchild, G, Hawes, D, Frick, P, Copeland, W, Odgers, C, Franke, B, Freitag, C & De Brito, S 2019, 'Conduct disorder', Nature Reviews Disease Primers, vol. 5, no. 1, 43 . https://doi.org/10.1038/s41572-019-0095-y

Rogers, JC & De Brito, SA 2016, 'Cortical and subcortical gray matter volume in youths with conduct problems: A meta-analysis', JAMA psychiatry, vol. 73, no. 1, pp. 64-72. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.2423

Recent publications


Koerner, S, Staginnus, M, Cornwell, H, Smaragdi, A, González-Madruga, K, Pauli, R, Rogers, JC, Gao, Y, Chester, S, Townend, S, Bernhard, A, Martinelli, A, Kohls, G, Raschle, NM, Konrad, K, Stadler, C, Freitag, CM, De Brito, SA & Fairchild, G 2024, 'Does the Relationship between Age and Brain Structure Differ in Youth with Conduct Disorder?', Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-024-01178-w

Cornwell, H, Toschi, N, Hamilton-Giachritsis, C, Staginnus, M, Smaragdi, A, Gonzalez-Madruga, K, Mackes, N, Rogers, J, Martinelli, A, Kohls, G, Raschle, NM, Konrad, K, Stadler, C, Freitag, CM, De Brito, SA & Fairchild, G 2024, 'Identifying cortical structure markers of resilience to adversity in young people using surface-based morphometry', Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, vol. 19, no. 1, nsae006. https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsae006

Pauli, R, Brazil, IA, Kohls, G, Klein-Flügge, MC, Rogers, JC, Dikeos, D, Dochnal, R, Fairchild, G, Fernández-Rivas, A, Herpertz-Dahlmann, B, Hervas, A, Konrad, K, Popma, A, Stadler, C, Freitag, CM, De Brito, SA & Lockwood, PL 2023, 'Action initiation and punishment learning differ from childhood to adolescence while reward learning remains stable', Nature Communications, vol. 14, no. 1, 5689. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-41124-w

Cornwell, H, Toschi, N, Hamilton-Giachritsis, C, Staginnus, M, Smaragdi, A, Gonzalez-Madruga, K, Rogers, J, Martinelli, A, Kohls, G, Raschle, NM, Konrad, K, Stadler, C, Freitag, C, De Brito, S & Fairchild, G 2023, 'Identifying structural brain markers of resilience to adversity in young people using voxel-based morphometry', Development and Psychopathology. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579423000718

Elster, E, Pauli, R, Baumann, S, De Brito, S, Fairchild, G, Freitag, CM, Konrad, K, Roessner, V, Brazil, IA, Lockwood, P & Kohls, G 2023, 'Impaired Punishment Learning in Conduct Disorder', Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2023.05.032

Cubillo, A, Tkalcec, A, Oldenhof, H, Unternaehrer, E, Raschle, NM, Kohls, G, Jansen, L, Hervas, A, Fernández-Rivas, A, Konrad, K, Popma, A, Freitag, CM, De Brito, S, Fairchild, G & Stadler, C 2023, 'Linking heart rate variability to psychological health and brain structure in adolescents with and without conduct disorder', Frontiers in Psychiatry, vol. 14, 1101064. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2023.1101064

Staginnus, M, Cornwell, H, Toschi, N, Oosterling, M, Paradysz, M, Smaragdi, A, González-Madruga, K, Pauli, R, Rogers, JC, Bernhard, A, Martinelli, A, Kohls, G, Raschle, NM, Konrad, K, Stadler, C, Freitag, CM, De Brito, SA & Fairchild, G 2023, 'Testing the ecophenotype model: cortical structure alterations in conduct disorder with versus without childhood maltreatment', Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpsc.2022.12.012

Khalaf, H, Martin, A, De Brito, S & Barker, E 2023, 'The underlying mechanisms in the association between traumatic brain injury in childhood and conduct disorder symptoms in late adolescence', Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology, vol. 51, no. 5, pp. 709-725. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-022-01015-y

Chester, S, Ogawa, T, Terao, M, Nakai, R, Abe, N & De Brito, S 2022, 'Cortical and subcortical grey matter correlates of psychopathic traits in a Japanese community sample of young adults: sex and configurations of factors’ level matter!', Cerebral Cortex. https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhac397

De Brito, SA, McDonald, D, Camilleri, JA & Rogers, JC 2021, 'Cortical and subcortical gray matter volume in psychopathy: a voxel-wise meta-analysis.', Journal of Abnormal Psychology, vol. 130, no. 6, pp. 627-640. https://doi.org/10.1037/abn0000698

Baumann, S, Hartz, A, Scharke, W, De Brito, SA, Fairchild, G, Herpertz-Dahlmann, B, Konrad, K & Kohls, G 2021, 'Differentiating brain function of punishment versus reward processing in conduct disorder with and without attention deficit hyperactivity disorder', World Journal of Biological Psychiatry. https://doi.org/10.1080/15622975.2021.1995809

Pauli, R, Kohls, G, Tino, P, Rogers, JC, Baumann, S, Ackermann, K, Bernhard, A, Martinelli, A, Jansen, L, Oldenhof, H, Gonzalez-Madruga, K, Smaragdi, A, Gonzalez-Torres, MA, Kerexeta-Lizeaga, I, Boonmann, C, Kersten, L, Bigorra, A, Hervas, A, Stadler, C, Fernandez-Rivas, A, Popma, A, Konrad, K, Herpertz-Dahlmann, B, Fairchild, G, Freitag, CM, Rotshtein, P & De Brito, SA 2021, 'Machine learning classification of conduct disorder with high versus low levels of callous-unemotional traits based on facial emotion recognition abilities', European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-021-01893-5


De Brito, SA 2023, 'Amygdala Response to Fear in Boys With Conduct Problems Following Parent Training: Considering Heterogeneity', Biological Psychiatry, vol. 94, no. 1, pp. 6-7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2023.04.024

Farrow, E, Chiocchetti, AG, Rogers, JC, Pauli, R, Raschle, NM, Gonzalez-Madruga, K, Smaragdi, A, Martinelli, A, Kohls, G, Stadler, C, Konrad, K, Fairchild, G, Freitag, CM, Chechlacz, M & De Brito, SA 2021, 'Correction: SLC25A24 gene methylation and gray matter volume in females with and without conduct disorder: an exploratory epigenetic neuroimaging study', Translational Psychiatry, vol. 11, no. 1, 553. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-021-01643-w

Review article

Viding, E, McCrory, E, Baskin-Sommers, A, De Brito, S & Frick, P 2024, 'An ‘embedded brain’ approach to understanding antisocial behaviour', Trends in Cognitive Sciences, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 159-171. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2023.08.013

View all publications in research portal


Violence and severe antisocial behaviour in children (e.g., conduct disorder, callous-unemotional traits/psychopathic tendencies) and adults (e.g., antisocial personality disorder and psychopathy) using cognitive neuroscience methods (e.g., brain imaging and neurocognitive assessments).

Impact of childhood maltreatment on brain structure and functioning; individual and environmental factors contributing to resilience.