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PSYC39H3 (172)


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University of Toronto Scarborough
David Naussbaum

Chapter 2 • What makes a good theory: ◦ Adoption of the simplest assumption in the formulation of a theory ◦ Clearly indentifies the causal mechanisms and corresponding mediators/moderators underlying the phenonmenon of interest ◦ Testable ◦ Based on empirical data, and is modified on new data ◦ possesses interdiscplinary compatability ◦ respects gender/ethnicity/culture Background Historical context • Franz Hall said that the size/shape of a person's head determines his/her personality/mental ability and behaviour • Johann Spurzheim- one of the gall students, applied the principals to 30 women who had killed their children, and concluded that these women had an underdeveloped part of their brain ( the part where they are susposed to love their children) • Like most phrenologists of his time, he forgot to include,a comparison group • Although the science of phrenology began to die out, cesare lombroso took galls work one step further, and began to comprare criminals(men/women) and prostitutes to the general population, and determined that they had distinctive physical characteristics, like slopping foreheads and twisted lips not observed in normal subjects • he therefore suggested that criminals were evolutionary throwbacks • These theories died out, and lombroso remains the father of criminology • recent and more accurate translations of his work, put his theories in a more positive light • Darwins cousin, francis galton used darwins work to create eugenics Researching Biological Explanations of Crime • Researchers often define crime during current legal definitions and examine whether biolgoical factors correlate or predict criminal offendings in the form of arrests or convinctions Genetics • Every human shares about 99 percent of his/her DNAwith other humans • Some critism have been that twins share the same enviroment, and also the same placenta Adoption Studies • 2 types of paradigm: • Cross fostering paradigm: adopted children have biological parents who are criminals or adopted parents who are • Sibling offspring paradigm: biological vs adopted children are compared • Adoption Study found that: • 2 highest criminality was found when biological parent had criminality adoption parent didn't • the most was when both had criminality • However studies do have limiations • generalizability problems given that adoptees have higher rates of antisocial behaviour • the enviromnets of adoptees tend to be more affluent, thus reducing shared enviromental effects due to restricted range • Rhee and Waldman found that variance in antisocial behaviour could be due to .41 hertability, .16 shared enviroment, .43 different enviroments • also examined the effects of moderators • 1)zygosity determination(self report vs blood typing,both) • 2)assessment method(parental rating of anti social behaviour, teacher,etc) • 3)operational definition of antisocial behaviour • gender • age of participants • The results were complex and at times inconclusive • results include that twin studies garned higher hertability than adoptation studies • genetics effects were stronger for females, but the differences disapered once the analysis was more restricted to more rigrous studies that included male and female twin pairs in the same study Moleculuar Genetics Researche • Low polyphormism of MAOAgene linked to antisocial behaviour • Study looked cohort from birth to 26 • Found strong gene by enviroment effect across 4 measures of antisocial behaviour(conduct disorder, violent convictions, violent dispositions, antisocial personality disorder) • Over 80 percent of youth with low MAOAand were maltreated, had conduct disorder ( vs 40% with high MAOA) • Study also replicated in healthy adults and pychiatric patients,> more likely to have physical aggression • This gene is sometimes called the warrier gene Neurochemistry and crime • Testosterone is a steriodal hormone within the family of androgens • It is responsible for developing male primary and secondary sexual characteristics • The relationship between testosterone and aggression is well established in the animal world however this link is positive yet weak in humans • Book et al reported the corrleation to be .14, however noted that 2 factors moderated the effectm age and the time of the day testertone readings were taken, the effect was strongest among younger males and during afternoons and evenings(but afternoon is stronger) • Offender status, method of testertone, aggression method • It is important to note that these studies are correlational, few if any have shown a direct link • Studies have shown the those who have gone physical or chemical castration PMS -Has resulted in FULLacquitals(drunk driving) • Craddock convicted of murdering her coworker and was found guilty of manslaughter because PMS turned her into a raging animal each month • Also in the DSM, but it stops short of it offically labelling it a disorder • Menstruation reduces glucose levels, which has been linked to antisocial behaviour Neurotransmitter and crime • Serotonin(5-Ht),
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