Dr. Kiehl is an author and neuroscientist who specializes in the use of clinical brain imaging techniques to understand major mental illnesses, with special focus on criminal psychopathy, psychotic disorders (i.e., schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, affective disorders), traumatic brain injury, substance abuse and paraphilias.
Also, he has designed the one-of-a-kind Mind Mobile MRI System to conduct research and treatment studies with forensic populations. To date his laboratory has deployed the Mind Mobile MRI System to collect brain imaging data from over 3000 offenders at eight different facilities in two states. This represents the world’s largest forensic neuroscience repository.
Dr. Kiehl is often invited to lecture for state and federal judges, lawyers, probation officers, correctional officials, academic audiences and the public about the intersection of neuroscience and law and psychopaths and the law. In the last several years he has worked with the Federal Judicial Center (FJC) to develop the educational curriculum for federal judges on neuroscience in the courtroom. Dr. Kiehl recently co-edited with Dr. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong a Handbook on Psychopathy and Law (2013; Oxford Press). He also serves as a legal consultant on criminal and civil cases involving neuroscience and law. He recently formed a neuroscience and law consulting group, known as MINDSET, to aid lawyers and judges in the appropriate use (and misuse) of neuroscience in the courtroom.
His scientific training began as an undergraduate in psychology and neuroscience at the University of California Davis. He completed his undergraduate thesis under the mentorship of Dr. Michael (Rick) Levenson. Part of their collaboration resulted in the publication of the Levenson Self-report Psychopathy Scale (LSRP), an instrument that is still widely used today to assess psychopathic traits in non-forensic samples.He began his training in neuroscience as research assistant in the UC Davis Center for Neuroscience working with Dr. Michael Gazzaniga and Dr. George Mangun. It was during this time he was trained in the intricacies of experimental design and the analyses of brain imaging data.
Dr. Kiehl completed his doctorate in psychology and neuroscience in 2000 from the University of British Columbia. Dr. Kiehl was co-mentored by Dr. Robert Hare and Dr. Peter Liddle. Dr. Hare is the world’s leading authority on psychopathy and author of The Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R), the most widely used test to assess psychopathic traits in clinical populations. He is one of a handful of certified trainers who educate clinicians in the appropriate use of the Hare PCL-R in clinical populations.
Dr. Liddle is leading authority on the neuroscience of schizophrenia and he was one of the founding members at Hammersmith Hospital that created the software Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM). SPM is the now the most widely used software in the world for the analyses of brain imaging data. Dr. Kiehl teaches seminars to the academics and businesses on the use of SPM in research.
During his time in graduate school, Dr. Kiehl authored over 20 peer-reviewed manuscripts; one of them was the first study using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine brain dysfunction in criminal psychopaths.
In 2001, Dr. Kiehl joined the faculty in the Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology at Yale University. His laboratory was located the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center at the Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital where he pursued his research program in the study of psychopathy and schizophrenia.
In 2007, Dr. Kiehl was jointly recruited by the nonprofit Mind Research Network and the University of New Mexico. Dr. Kiehl is currently co-directing the nonprofit Mind Research Network with his longtime collaborator Dr. Vince Calhoun. Dr. Kiehl is also a tenured full professor in the departments of Psychology (primary), Neuroscience, and Law at UNM.
Dr. Kiehl was one of the original members of the MacArthur Foundation Law and Neuroscience Project led by Dr. Michael Gazzaniga. As part of his role on the MacArthur project Dr. Kiehl co-edited with Dr. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong a Handbook on Psychopathy and Law (Oxford Press). The book is available on Amazon.
Outside of work, Dr. Kiehl enjoys spending time with his wife Lyn and daughter Kaitlyn (born 12/10/12). He is an avid golfer, skier, mountain biker, canine enthusiast (his 13 year old black German Shepherd Andi is a retired avalanche rescue dog), mountaineer, backpacker, and cetaceanologist. Oh don’t let me forget wine, he loves good wine (favorite vineyards – Caymus and Opus One).
First fMRI study of criminal psychopaths:
Kiehl, K.A., Smith, A.M., Hare, R.D., Forster, B.B., & Liddle, P.F. (2001). Limbic abnormalities in affective processing in criminal psychopaths as revealed by functional magnetic resonance imaging. Biological Psychiatry, 50, 677-684.
First event-related potential (ERP) study of killer whales (the largest animal EEG has ever been recorded from):
Szymanski, M.D., Bain, D., Kiehl, K.A., Henry, K., Pennington, S., & Wong, S. (1999). Killer whale (Orcinas orcas) hearing: Auditory brainstem response (ABR) and behavioral audiograms. Journal of the Acoustic Society of America, 106, 1134-1141.
First fMRI study of the N400:
Kiehl, K.A., Laurens, K.R. & Liddle, P.F. (2002). Reading anomalous sentences: An event-related fMRI study of semantic processing. NeuroImage, 17, 842-850.
First fMRI study of the P300 in schizophrenia:
Kiehl, K.A. & Liddle, P.F. (2001). An event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging study of an auditory oddball task in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 48, 159-171.
First Independent Component Analyses (ICA) fusion of ERP and fMRI:
Calhoun, V.D., Pearlson, G.D., & Kiehl, K.A. (2006). Neuronal chronometry of target detection: Fusion of hemodynamic and event-related potential data. NeuroImage, 30, 544-553.
First evolutionary cognitive neuroscience paper (that I know of):
Schaich Borg, J., Lieberman, D., & Kiehl, K.A. (2008). Infection, incest, and iniquity: Neural correlates of disgust and morality. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 20, 1529-1546.
First fMRI study of the paraphilia sexual sadism in criminal offenders:
Harenski, C. L., Thornton, D. M., Harenski, K. A., Decety, J., & Kiehl, K. A. (2012). Increased fronto-temporal activation during pain observation in sexual sadism: Preliminary findings. Archives of General Psychiatry, 69, 283-292.
First study of emotional intelligence in criminal psychopaths:
Ermer, E. Kahn, R., Salovey, P. & Kiehl, K.A. (2012). Emotional intelligence in incarcerated men with psychopathic traits. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103 (1), 194-204.
First functional connectivity study of psychopathy:
Juarez, M., Kiehl, K.A., & Calhoun, V.D. ( 2012). Intrinsic limbic and paralimbic networks are associated with criminal psychopathy. Human Brain Mapping
First fMRI study of empathy deficits in criminal psychopaths:
Decety, J., Skelly, L.R., & Kiehl, K.A. (in press). Brain response to empathy-eliciting scenarios in incarcerated psychopaths. Archives of General Psychiatry
First fMRI study to predict recidivism:
Aharoni, E., Vincent, G., Harenski, C., Calhoun, V.D., Sinnott-Armstrong, W., Gazzaniga, M.S., & Kiehl, K.A. (2013). Neuroprediction of future re-arrest. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), 1-6.