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

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  • A.C. 2.1 - Describe Biological Theories.
    • A.C. 3.2 - Evaluate Biological Theories.
      • Advantages
        • A number of studies have confirmed that there is a small association between bodily build and criminality.
        • Sheldon used a substantial sample (200) and had a control condition of non offenders to compare his results. increases validity of findings.
        • Glueck and Glueck (1956) found research that 60% out of the delinquent sample were mesomorphs, while in the non-delinquent sample 31% were mesomorphs.
        • Other studies seem to support his theory to some extent. Small association with bodily build and criminality (Putwain & Sammons, 2002)
      • Disadvantages
        • Androcentric as it only focuses on men and not women.
        • lacks external validity, Sheldon only used internal samples not external.
        • Mesomorphs might be more likely under social pressure, and peer pressure. to engage in illicit activities.
        • Ectomorphs and endomorphs can also be criminals which is contradictory to Sheldon’s idea that mesomorphs are criminals.
    • Sheldon
      • Build on Lombroso's ideas, examining photographs of 4000 men, suggested there are 3 Somatotypes (Body types)
      • Endomorphic: fat and soft, tend to be sociable and relaxed
      • Ectomorph: thin and fragile, are introverted and restrained
      • Mesomorphic: muscular and hard, are more aggressive and adventurous.
      • found ,many criminal prone to violent acts are mesomorphic.


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