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University of Toronto St. George
Woodsworth College Courses
Dena Demos

BIOLOGICAL THEORY OF CRIME - “born criminals” , based on genotype, body type, or genetic disposition  Bio-socioal theory - Bio-social theory, study of biological risk factors that make some people at greater risk of offending than others; doesn’t mean there’s predetermination and some people are predetermined will always end up being criminals; number of characteristics that will put people at risk of engaging crime; e.g. allergies, people with brain allergies are more likely to engage in severe violence than those w/t these allergies, everything else equal might be more likely to act in a violent way, if presented with the proper stimulus o If you had no allergic reaction in your system at a particular time and someone was provoking you, you might be able to exit from the situation without engaging in violence, however if you were irritable because you were dealing with allergic reaction and faced with the same provocation, you might be less unable under that biological circumstance to control yourself….its a risk factor that puts you in criminal acts o Biological condition and social stressor combined with provoke crime, people aren’t born evil, but the stressors will increase the likelihood of crime o E.g. hormones; testosterone, used to explain difference in behaviour b/t men and women (men more violent), exposure to testosterone in fetal state can produce violent behaviour, violent female offenders have higher levels of testosterone, casual relationship between violent and levels of testosterone (the situation you were placed in could increase your testosterone levels, those faced with a violent situation might increase testosterone, violence increases testosterone…winners/victors have higher testosterone levels), most men with high testosterone levels refrain from violent behaviour and not engage them…something about how environment and testosterone levels interact with each other o Vast majority of having extra x chromosome even if it was a factor, it wasn’t a big factor o E.g. steroids, individuals that take steroid more likely to have irrational acts of violence - genetic theory of crime: cannot locate genes that will make people more likely commit crime o twin studies: both type of twins share almost identical genetic makeup (identical), behaviour of identical twins more similar than fraternal twins then non-twin siblings in criminal behaviour…often argued that fraternal twins are not same gender, therefore different social genderization which can impact behaviour o adoption studies: questioned whether or not the behaviour of adopted child more similar to bio parents or adopted parents, adopted babies are more similar to biological parents even without exposure to them, criminal behaviour most likely to take place when bio and adoptive father are criminals, then when only adoptive father is criminal, and when only biological father isn’t - evolutionary theory: Darwin; survival of the fittest, evolutionary adaptation, success is passing genes and successive breeding o evolutionary criminologists argue that certain criminal behaviours can be explained by evolutionary tendencies, e.g. step-parents are most likely to children, children under 5 are 7x more likely to be killed by stepparents (particularly stepfathers),genetically from evolutionary p.o.v. to kill offspring of somebody else so they can breed again and pass on their genetic material more quickly, humans do that too as part of instinctive evolutionary process this pattern is an anomaly, cannot represent whole population
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