A.C. 2.1 + 3.2 - Describing and Evaluating Biological Theory (UNIT 2) (1)

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  • A.C. 2.1 - Describe Biological Theories.
    • Lombroso
      • Criminals were a separate species. Argued 'Born Criminals' could be determined by physical shape of the head and face.
      • Those who had 'Atavistic' features, more likely to commit crime.
      • Studied 383 dead criminals and 3,839 living ones. 40% had atavistic features.
      • E.g. Murderers - bloodshot eyes, curly hair. Sex offenders - thick lips, protruding ears
      • 'Atavistic' - relating to or characterized by reversion to something ancient or ancestral.
    • A.C. 2.2 - Evaluate Biological Theories.
      • Advantages
        • Lombroso was the first person to give criminology a scientific credibility. previously crime was seen as moral or religious issue.
        • His work indicated the beginning of offender profiling, showed importance of examining clinical and historical records.
        • extremely deterministic and assumes we cant escape our destiny due to 'born criminals'
        • some of his late work started to take into consideration social and environmental factors.
      • Disadvantage
        • By describing criminals like 'Primitive Savages' Lombroso equates non-western societies with criminals, this is seen as racist.
        • Research since, Lombroso has failed to show a link between facial features and criminality within criminals.
        • Failed to compare his findings on prisoners, with a control group or non criminals, he would of been invalid.


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