Genetic Explanation of Crime

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  • Genetic Explanation of Crime
    • AO2
      • Reductionist exp: focuses purely on genetic factors and ignores other ones that could lead to crime
        • People usually participate in crime due to a range of diff factors like SLT and mental illness
      • SE: Dabb et al (1995) found male prison inmates who had committed violent crimes had higher levels of testosterone than those that committed non-violent crimes
        • Suggests testosterone levels have an impact on how aggressive a person is which increases their likeliness to commit a violent crime
        • But lacks rel: many confounding Vs that could of altered why they committed the crime. Eg if they were brought up in a violent household then they may socially learn that it is acceptable to be aggressive. So a C and E rel can't be established
      • SE: Lagerspetz (1979) found that when she bred the least aggressive rats and the most aggressive rats together, one group of mice were super aggressive and the other very docile even when cross fostered.
        • Suggests that the combo of genes can cause more/less aggressive behaviour depending on which are inherited.
        • But lacks gen: done on rats not humans, diff motivation involved, its in a rats nature to be aggressive whereas humans have other environ influences
      • Socially sensitive: suggests people are born criminals and theres nothing anyone can do, parents may not like the idea that the genes come from them and may feel responsible, gives criminals an excuse (one they aren't in control of), lawyers could use this in court, stress to victims family
      • Not testable: range of factors that can cause crime and it is impossible to control someones life to that extent where role models, upbringing etc all controlled so C and E can't be established
      • Alt expl: SLT suggests we learn crime through observation and imitation of criminal role models. Though saying this SLT can't explain **** as no one sees it happen. Could be due to mental illness
    • AO1
      • Suggests that people are born with a specific combo of genes inherited from their parents.
        • Half from dad in sperm, half from mum in egg.
        • Conception=unique combo (genotype) formed
        • Genotype may contain combo of genes which predisposes the person towards crime
          • More likely to engage in this behaviour than someone who doesn't have the combo
      • But, environ factors must interact with the genotype in order for the phenotype to display criminal behaviour
      • May predispose them by affecting the way the brain develops and functions
        • People with unusual levels of activity in the amygdala and hypothalamus may be more likely to engage in aggressive behaviour
        • Low levels of serotonin in the brain is also associated with aggressive behaviour
      • People may be genetically predisposed due to high levels of testosterone in their blood.
        • Affected by genetic make up, more likely to commit violent crimes
      • NOS gene is associated with aggression
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