biological - inherited criminality evaluation

  • Created by: Elyseee
  • Created on: 22-02-21 12:52
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  • inherited criminality evaluation
    • Research support
      • Evidence for genetics comes from adoption studies
      • Raymond Crowe 1972 - adopted children with biological parent with a criminal record had 38% greater risk of having criminal record by age of 18 compared to 6% risk for children whose parent did not have a criminal record
      • Sara Mednick et al 1987 - study of 14,000 adoptees found 15% of sons adopted to a criminal family went onto be criminals compared to 20% whose biological (not adoptive) parents were criminal, suggesting inherited genes are more significant
    • Explaining non-violent crimes
      • Most genetic and neural research relates to association between criminal and violent/aggressive behaviour
      • violent/aggressive behaviourBiological explanations may just account for certain kinds of crimes such as those involving violence and psychopathy
      • Psychopath is person who lack empathy, thus are more likely to commit crimes
      • Psychopath is person who lack empathy, thus are more likely to commit crimesEvidence that psychopathy is inherited - Bruce Blognigen et al 2005 - support for genetic basis looking at 600+ male and female twin
      • Criminal behaviour includes non-violent crime
      • Lynn Findlay 2011 - suggests crime is non ‘natural’ category, does not exist apart from how we choose to define it, it’s a social construct
      • People have created a category of behaviour and it includes many different types of crime - makes it difficult to argue that these behaviours can be explained in terms of genetics and its interaction with the environmen
    • deterministic explanations
      • Genetic explanations are deterministic
      • Criminality cannot be explained 100% by genetics
      • Tiihonen et al 2015 - those with defective gene were 13x more likely to have history of repeated violent behaviour, but this means not everyone with the gene becomes criminal
      • The law also questions whether the cause of behaviour is outside the person’s control - it is harder for some individuals to avoid violence, perhaps due to biology and environment
      • Deterministic view cannot be totally ruled out
    • Cause or effect - nature/nurture
      • Genes must be linked to a physical or psychological effect to cause criminal behaviour
      • One possibility is brain differences in criminals
      • Seo et al 2008 - suggests low serotonin levels may predispose individual to impulsive aggression and criminal behaviour, serotonin normally inhibits prefrontal cortex, dopamine may enhance this
      • Common observation is that criminals report experiencing head injury
      • 8.5% of US general population have head injury compared to 60% US prison population - Harmon 2012
      • Brain differences may be due to nurture rather than nature as other evidence would suggest


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