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Centre for Analytic 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 behavior.

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 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.


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.


Key publications: 

Wikström, P-O H. and Treiber, K. (2019). The dynamics of change: Criminogenic interactions and life course patterns in crime. The Oxford handbook of developmental and life course theories of crime. D. P. Farrington, Oxford University Press, 272-294.

Treiber, K. (2017). Biosocial criminology and models of criminal decision making. In W. Bernasco, H. Elffers, J. van Gelder (eds) Oxford Handbook of Offender Decision Making. Oxford: OUP, 87-120.

Wikström, P-O H. and Treiber, K. (2017). Beyond risk factors: An analytical approach to crime prevention. Preventing crime and violence, Advances in Prevention Science Volume 2. B, Teasdale & M. S. Bradley, Springer, 73-87.

Treiber, K. (2017) Situational action theory and PADS+: Theoretical and methodological advances in the study of life-course criminology. In A. Blokland & V. van der Geest (eds) International Handbook of Life-Course Criminology. Routledge, 50-73.

Wikström, P-O H. and Treiber, K. (2016). “Social disadvantage and crime: A criminological puzzle”. American Behavioural Scientist 60(10): 1232-1259.

Wikström, P-O H. and Treiber, K. (2015). Situational theories: The importance of interactions and action mechanisms in the explanation of crime. Handbook of criminological theory. A.R. Piquero. Hoboken, NJ, Wiley-Blackwell: 415-444.

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., 111-127.

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, 213-246.

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): 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): 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, 389-422.

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 Associate Professor in Neurocriminology
Deputy Director of PADS+
Editor-in-Chief European Journal of Criminology
Dr Kyle  Treiber

Contact Details

01223 762947
Not available for consultancy