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Lecture 3

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David Nussbaum

Lecture 3-Sept 23 Historical Context • phrenology o felt bumps on skull to measure the person's characteristics o Franz Gall:  believed that there was a relationship between the shape and size of a persons' head and personality, ability, behaviours • Cesare Lombroso o thought that criminals posses distinctive physical features o that they are evolutionary throwbacks • Darwin o natural selection o various traits seem to have developed as an adaptation o criminals have parents who were criminals etc • Francis Galton o eugenics  society could be enahnced if we get rid of people who do not have good genes  sterilized people who they thought have bad genes Researching Biological Explanations of Crime • behavioural genetics • molecular biology • neurochemical approaches Genetics and Crime-Twins, Adoption and Molecular Genetics • link between genetics and antisocial behaviour o twin and adoption studies • Caspi study o link found between MAO-A and childhood maltreatment Hormones and Crime • people with more testosterone tend to be more aggressive o when they studied monkeys, they have hierarchy, it was associated with their testosterone levels e.g. highest up, had most testosterone o but as they aged, testosterone levels started to fall and the low, young gorrilla fights and wins over the higher up the gorilla, that gorilla's t. level fall dramatically, and the one that won goes up • study of premenstrual syndrome and aggression • study: athletes o before the game, the t. levels of both teams are very high o after the game, the winning team, t. level goes up and losers, the t. level goes down • study: imagine you won or lost o t. levels fell up and down according Neurotrasnmitters and Crime • serotonin o behavioural inhibition, mood regulation; correlation between malfunctioning serotonin and aggression o regulates mood (bring you up or down and makes you stop and contextualize) • dopamine o immediate gratification neurotransmitter o very high and very low levels of dopamine linked to aggression • norephinephrine o immediate response to stress o high levels are correlated with aggression Physiology and Crime • link between measure of autonomic response e.g. heart rate and anti-social behaviour • Gray's arousal model: o personality, learning, emotinal responses are governed by: o 1) behavioural activation system (BAS)  tendency to become activated  people with anto-social have this as overactive e.g. see gratification, get it right away o 2) behavioural inhibition system (BIS)  people with anti-social have this as underactive o *the ratio between these 2 determines how prone someone is to thinking like this • antisocial individual have underactive BIS and overactive BAS o physiologicla id, superego Brain and Crime: Neuroimaging • Examines structural and functional characteristics of the brain; use of MRI, CT, PET, SPECT • Raine and Yang o structural or functional damage results in "antisocial tendency"; deficits in 4 areas: frontal lobe, temporal, parietal, cingulate gyrus  causal inference without manipulation o damage to frontal lobe: a frequent abnormality found in offenders o impairments to limbic system and temporal lobe implicated antisocial behaviour o no single brain structure that is ultimately necessary for antisocial behaviour, multiple factors Brain and crime: Neuropsychology • criminals often have a lot of distraction, trouble focusing, poor organizational, poor inhibitory control • poor executive function is prevalent in anti-social behaviour • what is a defining component of executive function? o poor inhibitory control Other Biological Considerations: things that are higher in prison populations • prenatal and perinatal complications, proper diet and toxins in antisocial behaviour o especially low in sugar in the blood o someone who is slipping into a diabetic coma (they are confused and panicky), the sugar is not enough to give energy so cells get starved o brain cells are short of sugar, may not be functioning optimally so make poor decisions • toxins o link between lead concentration and antisocial behaviour in children • many have high levels of o manganese o ADHD or ADD • abnormal fetal development may predispose individuals to antisocial behaviour Evolutionary Theories of Crime • focus on ultimate explanations (doesn't look at the steps in between the millions of years) • Life history theory o 2 different types of criminals o those that stop their antisocial behaviour between 18-20 and those who persist in adulthood • frequency dependence selection o explanation of psychopathy • male-male competition o explnation of homicide • parental investment and mating effort o males are more invovled in crime than female
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