Dr Stephane De Brito BSc, MPhil, PhD

Dr Stephane De Brito

School of Psychology
Senior Lecturer

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.


Recent publications


Sebastian, CL, Stafford, J, McCrory, EJ, Sethi, A, De Brito, SA, Lockwood, PL & Viding, E 2021, 'Modulation of amygdala response by cognitive conflict in adolescents with conduct problems and varying levels of CU traits', Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-021-00787-z

Bernhard, A, Kirchner, M, Martinelli, A, Ackermann, K, Kohls, G, Gonzalez-Madruga, K, Wells, A, Fernández-Rivas, A, De Artaza-Lavesa, MG, Raschle, NM, Konsta, A, Siklósi, R, Hervás, A, Herpertz-Dahlmann, B, De Brito, SA, Popma, A, Stadler, C, Konrad, K, Fairchild, G & Freitag, CM 2021, 'Sex-specific associations of basal steroid hormones and neuropeptides with Conduct Disorder and neuroendocrine mediation of environmental risk', European Neuropsychopharmacology, vol. 49, pp. 40-53. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2021.03.016

Pluess, M, De Brito, S, Jones, AP, McCrory, E & Viding, E 2020, 'Individual Differences in Sensitivity to the Early Environment as a Function of Amygdala and Hippocampus Volumes: An Exploratory Analysis in 12-Year Old Boys', Development and Psychopathology.

Pluess, M, De Brito, SA, Bartoli, AJ, McCrory, E & Viding, E 2020, 'Individual differences in sensitivity to the early environment as a function of amygdala and hippocampus volumes: An exploratory analysis in 12-year-old boys', Development and Psychopathology. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579420001698

Kohls, G, Fairchild, G, Bernhard, A, Martinelli, A, Smaragdi, A, Gonzalez-Madruga, K, Wells, A, Rogers, JC, Pauli, R, Oldenhof, H, Jansen, L, Rhijn, AV, Kersten, L, Alfano, J, Baumann, S, Herpertz-Dahlmann, B, Vetro, A, Lazaratou, H, Hervas, A, Fernández-Rivas, A, Popma, A, Stadler, C, De Brito, SA, Freitag, CM & Konrad, K 2020, 'Neuropsychological subgroups of emotion processing in youths with conduct disorder', Frontiers in Psychiatry, vol. 11, 585052. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.585052

Pauli, R, Tino, P, Rogers, JC, Baker, R, Clanton, R, Birch, P, Brown, A, Daniel, G, Ferreira, L, Grisley, L, Kohls, G, Baumann, S, Bernhard, A, Martinelli, A, Ackermann, K, Lazaratou, H, Tsiakoulia, F, Bali, P, Oldenhof, H, Jansen, L, Smaragdi, A, Gonzalez-Madruga, K, Gonzalez-Torres, MA, González de Artaza-Lavesa, M, Steppan, M, Vriends, N, Bigorra, A, Siklósi, R, Ghosh, S, Bunte, K, Dochnal, R, Hervas, A, Stadler, C, Fernández-Rivas, A, Fairchild, G, Popma, A, Dikeos, D, Konrad, K, Herpertz-Dahlmann, B, Freitag, CM, Rotshtein, P & De Brito, S 2020, 'Positive and negative parenting in conduct disorder with high versus low levels of callous-unemotional traits', Development and Psychopathology, pp. 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579420000279

Oldenhof, H, Jansen, L, Ackermann, K, Pauli, R, Rogers, J, Clanton, R, Baker, R, Gonzalez-Madruga, K, Smaragdi, A, Herpertz-Dahlmann, B, Bernhard, A, Martinelli, A, Kohls, G, De Brito, S, Konrad, K, Stadler, C, Fairchild, G, Freitag, CM & Popma, A 2020, 'Psychophysiological Responses to Sadness in Girls and Boys with Conduct Disorder', Journal of Abnormal Psychology.

Gonzalez-Madruga, K, Rogers, J, Toschi, N, Riccelli, R, Smaragdi, A, Puzzo, I, Clanton, R, Anderson, J, Baumann, S, Kohls, G, Raschle, NM, Fehlbaum, LV, Menks, WM, Stadler, C, Konrad, K, Freitag, CM, De Brito, S, Sonuga-Barke, E & Fairchild, G 2020, 'White matter microstructure of the extended limbic system in male and female youth with conduct disorder', Psychological Medicine, vol. 50, no. 1, pp. 58-67. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291718003951

Raschle, NM, Fehlbaum, LV, Menks, WM, Martinelli, A, Prätzlich, M, Bernhard, A, Ackermann, K, Freitag, CM, De Brito, S, Fairchild, G & Stadler, C 2019, 'Atypical dorsolateral prefrontal activity in females with conduct disorder during effortful emotion regulation', Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, vol. 4, no. 11, pp. 984-994. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpsc.2019.05.003

Kohls, G, Baumann, S, Gundlach, M, Scharke, W, Bernhard, A, Martinelli, A, Ackermann, K, Kersten, L, Prätzlich, M, Oldenhof, H, Jansen, L, van den Boogaard, L, Smaragdi, A, Gonzalez-Madruga, K, Cornwell, H, Rogers, J, Pauli, R, Clanton, R, Baker, R, Bigorra, A, Kerexeta-Lizeaga, I, Sesma-Pardo, E, Aguirregomoscorta-Menéndez, F, Siklósi, R, Dochnal, R, Kalogerakis, Z, Pirlympou, M, Papadakos, L, Dikeos, D, Hervas, A, Herpertz-Dahlmann, B, Fernández-Rivas, A, Popma, A, Stadler, C, De Brito, S, Blair, JR, Freitag, CM, Fairchild, G & Konrad, K 2019, 'Investigating sex differences in emotion recognition, learning, and regulation among youths with conduct disorder', Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2019.04.003

Gao, Y, Rogers, J, Pauli, R, Clanton, R, Baker, R, Birch, P, Ferreira, L, Brown, A, Freitag, CM, Fairchild, G, Rotshtein, P & De Brito, S 2019, 'Neural correlates of theory of mind in typically-developing youth: influence of sex, age and callous-unemotional traits', Scientific Reports, vol. 9, no. 1, 16216 . https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-52261-y

Ackermann, K, Kirchner, M, Bernhard, A, Martinelli, A, Anomitri, C, Baker, R, Baumann, S, Dochnal, R, Fernandez-Rivas, A, Gonzalez-Madruga, K, Herpertz-Dahlmann, B, Hervas, A, Jansen, L, Kapornai, K, Kersten, L, Kohls, G, Limprecht, R, Lazaratou, H, McLaughlin, A, Oldenhof, H, Rogers, JC, Siklósi, R, Smaragdi, A, Vivanco-Gonzalez, E, Stadler, C, Fairchild, G, Popma, A, De Brito, SA, Konrad, K & Freitag, CM 2019, 'Relational aggression in adolescents with conduct disorder: sex differences and behavioral correlates', Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, vol. 47, no. 10, pp. 1625-1637. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-019-00541-6

Rogers, JC, Gonzalez-Madruga, K, Kohls, G, Baker, RH, Clanton, RL, Pauli, R, Birch, P, Chowdhury, AI, Kirchner, M, Andersson, JLR, Smaragdi, A, Puzzo, I, Baumann, S, Raschle, NM, Fehlbaum, LV, Menks, WM, Steppan, M, Stadler, C, Konrad, K, Freitag, CM, Fairchild, G & De Brito, SA 2019, 'White matter microstructure in youths with conduct disorder: effects of sex and variation in callous traits', Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, vol. 58, no. 12, pp. 1184-1196. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2019.02.019

Review article

for the ENIGMA Consortium 2020, 'ENIGMA and global neuroscience: A decade of large-scale studies of the brain in health and disease across more than 40 countries', Translational Psychiatry, vol. 10, no. 1, 100. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-020-0705-1

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

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.