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Crim 103 - Biological Risk Factors for Crime.docx

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CRIM 103
Jennifer Wong

Biological Risk Factors for Crime The interaction of Biology and Environment  Born w/ inherent capabilities & predispositions  Interact w/ family, social, culture circumstances  Nature VIA nurture – not one or other  If genetics are responsible for crime, we cannot do anything about it 1. Genetics and Crime  Dugdale (1877): traced Juke family 1750-1870; 709 descendants, ~20%. (~40% on welfare)  Farrington’s Cambridge Study (1998): Cannot determine relative impact of genetics vs. environment. Correlations b/w father and sons (3 generations) Twin Studies:  Monozygotic vs. dizygotic twins  Compare behavior to examine genes vs. environment Shared & Nonshared Environments  Prenatal & living experiences affecting twins in same/different ways  Nonshared influences increase with age; shared decrease (gender, one twin sick/injured, different treatment, different teachers/peer groups) Concordance  Degree to which pairs of subjects both show particular behavior or condition  Eg. 20 pairs of MZ twins & 20 pairs DZ twins o If 10 pairs of MZ have same IQ score, concordance = 50% o If 5 pairs of DZ have same IQ, concordance = 25% Twin Studies & Criminality  Raine (1993) reviewed 13 twin studies o 52% concordance for MZ; 21% for DZ  Genes predispose; life experiences increase or decrease that risk o Jaffee et. Al (2005): 1100 twin pairs – effect of child abuse effected the child with higher conduct problems Adoption Studies  Cross fostering design – criminal behav. Of adopted children compared to biological & adoptive parents  Schulsinger (1972): Pyshcopathy – 57 adopted adults were psychopaths, 57 were not.  Crowe (1974): Mothers – 52 children given up by criminal mothers, compared to 52 children given up w/ noncriminal mothers. Larger number of kids w/ criminal mom higher than those w/noncriminal mothers Mednick, Gabrielli & Hutchings (1984) Cross fostering analysis in 4,000 males adopted from 1927-1947? Criminal Biological parents? Criminal adoptive parents? Yes No Yes 24.5% 14.7% No 20% 13.5% Search for a Crime Gene  XYY chromosome in “supermales” o Jacobs et al. (1965): XYY linked to height, mental retardation, violence o Jarvik et al. (1973): XYY in general pop’n = 0.11 - 0.14%; criminal pop’n: 1.9% o XYY not strong explanatory factor in crime 2. Psychophysiological Factors  Temperament o “Natural” mood disposition  Biological basis  Appears in infancy, continues through life  Influenced by environment o Usually studied in infants  Activity (eg. Walking), emotionality(eg. Able to calm down when fussy), self- regulation (eg. Stop crying when told)  3 temperament styles o Easy child – regular in biological functions, good moods, highly adaptable, low intensity emotional expression o Difficult child – irregular biological function, negative mood, slow to adapt to environment changes, high intensity of emotional expression o Slow-to-warm-up child – withdraw from new stimuli in environment, not adaptable, generally negative mood, low intensity of emotional expression 3. Neuropsychological factors  Neurotransmitters: brain chemicals that transmit nervous system messages (eg. Serotonin) – some research suggests that low levels of serotonin leads to aggression, depression related, suicide, alcoholism  Hormones: compounds released by endocrine gland (eg. Testosterone) – much research links testosterone points to aggression, levels fluctuate while under different environments (ie. sports, winning/losing). Testosterone levels never stationary  Berton et al. (2006): Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in bullied mice – major
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