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oct3, week4, weds.odt

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Jennifer Lavoie

Psychology of Crime October 3, 2012 Week 4, Wednesday Famous left handed criminals: • jack the ripper • john dillinger • billy the kid • the boston strangler Left hemispehere dysfunction theory Cerebrum divided into parts • left and right cerebral hemispehres • Lateralization: functional specialization in one hemisphere Contra lateral pathways Left controls right, right controls left. FunctionalAsymmetry Left hemisphere: (dominant for most people) Language processing and comprehension, math, logic Right hemisphere” Creativity, spatial dimensions, imagination. Reduced functional lateralization for language: Deficits in left hemisphere activation ersult in problems with language comprehension, processing and communications Difficulties in interpersonal encounters (social skills) Conflict resolution, peer rejection. Why is handedness meaningful? Indicator of reduced lateralization Left handedness • 95% right handers are left hemisphere dominant • Lefty's ◦ Most (60%) also left hemisphere dominant ◦ 20% are right hemispheres dominant for language ◦ 20% are bi lateral for language (no specialization)* • Criminals should be more likely to be left handed, since lefty's are more likely to have bilateral language representation. Week 4: THE BAD SEED: evolutionary theory and crime Genetics and crim behaviour. Behaviour genetics theory: Abranch of genetics that studied the relative contributions of heredity + environment to behavioural and personality characteristics GENES affect behaviour in interaction with ENVIRONMENTAL influences. What are genetic markers? Characteristics of genes that “mark” a locations of genes that may contribute to a trait. Caridovascualr Underarousal Autonomic arousal theory Low heart rate and fearlessness People commit crime because they are looking for excitement b/c they are chronically under aroused. Agene by Environmenr Interaction: Criminality more likely when environmental and genetic risk factors occur together E.g Underaroused ANS + parents who model violence. Section II Basic premise: Specific behaviours are caused by biological mechanisms that evolved through natural selection. Trait variation: Changes in population genepool What traits are desirable/adaptive in today's world? As the world changes- different traits become more adaptive. Key concepts: Natural Selection: differential survival and reproduction of organisms with genetics characteristics that enable them to better utilize environmental resources Reproductive fitness: an individuals genetic fitness is defined in terms of his or her reproductive success or the number of viable offspring produced. Can criminal behaviour be adaptive? Crime is a politically defined construct Traits that underlie “criminal behaviours” may be adaptive • Deception • Selfishness • Aggressiveness Criminal be
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