Theories of Crime

            The biological theory of crime suggests people are biologically predisposed to be criminal, influenced by their genetics, hormones or neurochemical imbalances in the brain. Lombroso (1836-1909) suggested that ‘criminal’ genes create a more primitive form of human known as homo-delinquents that can be distinguished from others by their features, for example physical features such as a prominent jaw or, psychological features such as not feeling guilt.

            However, this theory can be heavily criticized as there has been no supporting evidence following this, an example could be Goring (1913) who compared 3000 convicts with 3000 non-criminals and found no differences in their facial features. It is a reductionist theory in which Lombroso has ignored factors that contribute to an individual’s personality such as upbringing and environment, which can have just as large of an effect as their biology. As the theory suggests that people with certain facial characteristics are more likely to be criminal, it encourages people to be prejudice towards certain groups when it is unlikely to be true.

            When looking for one specific gene linking to criminal behavior, research has lead to suggestions that the NOS1 gene could be responsible following an association between NOS1 and aggression in animals. From this research, it has been suggested that NOS1 could be the cause of aggressive criminal behaviour in humans, however there can be some difficulties that arise when generalizing findings from an animal study to humans because of the differences between them. In recent studies, researchers found an association between one variant of NOS1 and high levels of aggression in adults, especially aggressive crimes. A problem that arises with genetic theories is that it is difficult to see how criminality can be influenced by genetics when crime is relative to the culture and context of


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