This article discusses how a cognitive modelling approach for criminal behaviour can be related to a biological modelling approach. The discussion is illustrated by a case study for the behaviour of three types of violent criminals as known from literature within the area of Criminology. A cognitive model is discussed that can show each of the behaviours of these types of criminals, depending on the characteristics set and inputs in terms of stimuli from the environment. Based on literature in Criminology about motivations and opportunities and their underlying biological factors, it is shown by a formal interpretation mapping how the model can be related to a biological grounding. This formal mapping covers ontology elements for states and dynamic properties for processes, and thus shows how the cognitive model can be biologically grounded. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.