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SOC2700 WEEK 3 chapter 3 and 4.doc

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SOC 2070
Norman Dubeski

VOLD’S CHAPTERS 3 AND 4 Chapter 3: -biological theories argue that certain biological characteristics increase the probability that individuals will engage in violent or antisocial behaviours -biosocial theories focus on the interaction between biological characteristics and the social environment Background: Physical Appearance and Defectiveness -earliest theories emphasized physical appearance as the mark of a criminal, thought the cause of criminality was being inferior biologically, shown in physical traits -goes back to ancient times e.g. Socrates was unfavourably described by a physiognomist (someone who studies the face) -phrenologists studied the shape of the skull and thought it indicated the shape of the brain, which could determine personal characteristics and how the mind functioned Lombroso, the "Born Criminal" and Positivist Criminology -studied all anatomical features of the human body -relied on Darwin's theory of evolution to argue that criminals were biological throwbacks to an earlier evolutionary stage, people more primitive and less highly evolved than their noncriminal counterparts; called them "atavists" -physical characteristics he linked to crime: deviations in head size and shape, asymmetry of the face, large jaws and cheekbones, unusually large or small ears or ears that stand out form the head, fleshy lips, abnormal teeth, receding chin, abundant hair or wrinkles, long arms, extra fingers or toes, or an asymmetry of the brain -argued that there 3 major classes of criminals: • born criminals: atavistic reversions to a lower or more primitive evolutionary form of development and were thought to constitute about one third of offenders • insane criminals: idiots, imbeciles, paranoiacs, sufferers from melancholia, , dementia, alcoholism, epilepsy, or hysteria • criminaloids: did not have any special mental or physical characteristics but their mental and emotional makeup were such that under certain circumstances they engage in criminal behaviour; said to be the majority of criminals, while the above 2 were rare -his later thinking looked more at social and environmental factors such as climate, rainfall, the price of grain, sex and marriage customs, criminal laws, banking practices, national tariff policies, the structure of government, church organization, and the state of religious belief -his important contribution was the concept of criminaloids and its use of multiple-factor causation (biological, social, psychological); this approach became known as positivist criminology Goring's Refutation of the "Born Criminal" -compared prisoners with officers and men of the Royal Engineers and found no differences of defects between them -also compared other traits such as nasal contours, colour of eyes, colour of hair, and left- handedness and didn't see any significant differences -also didn't find differences between different types of criminals -did find that criminals were one to two inches shorter than noncriminals of the same occupational groups and weighed a few pounds less; interpreted them as a general inferiority of a hereditary nature (Goring's theory of hereditary inferiority) -today most criminologists agree with Goring that there is no specific physical criminal type Body Type Theories -argue that there is a high degree of correspondence between the physical appearance of the body and the temperament of the mind -Sheldon's basic type characteristics of physique and temperament: Physique Temperament endomorphic: relatively great development of digestive viscerotonic: general relaxation of body; viscera; tendency to put on fat; soft roundness through a comfortable person; loves soft luxury; various regions of the body; short tapering limbs; small a "softie" but still essentially an extrovert bones; soft, smooth, velvety skin mesomorhpic: relative predominance of muscles, bone, somotonic: active, dynamic person; and the motor organs of the body; large trunk; heavy walks, talks, gestures assertively; chest; large wrists and hands; if "lean", a hard behaves aggressively rectangularity of outline; if "not lean" they fill out heavily ectomorphic: relative predominance of skin and its cerebrotonic: an introvert, full of appendages, which includes the nervous system; lean, functional complaints, allergies, skin fragile, delicate body; small, delicate bones; droopy troubles, chronic fatigue, insomnia; shoulders; small face, sharp nose, fine hair, relatively sensitive to noise and distractions; little body mass and relatively great surface area shrinks from crowds -everyone possesses the characteristics of the three types to a greater or lesser degree; Sheldon would rate an individual on each of the 3 types on a scale from 1 to 7 -both Sheldon and the Gluecks have found through studies that the mesomorph and delinquency are associated -Gluecks found that mesomorphs were generally "more highly characterized by traits suitable to the commission of acts of aggression (physical strength, energy, insensitivity, the tendency to express tensions and frustrations in action), together with a relative freedom from such inhibitions to antisocial adventures as feelings of inadequacy, marked submissiveness to authority, emotional instability, and the like." -also, mesomorphs who became delinquent had a number of personality traits that are not normally found in mesomorphs, such as susceptibility to contagious diseases of childhood, destructiveness, feelings of inadequacy, emotional instability, and emotional conflicts -studies were criticized because of their small sample sizes and that they weren't repeatable -Sheldon did not begin with a random sample, mismeasured, and made errors biased towards his theories -relationship between body build and behaviour may be indirect; e.g. a physically large child may have discovered that using force to solve conflict is more effective than a small child who would quickly have to find an alternative way Family Studies -Goring used new statistical methods to study English convicts; used length of imprisonment to determine seriousness of criminality -found that those with frequent and long imprisonments were smaller and more mentally inferior than other people, which are primarily inheritable characteristics -found high correlations between the frequency and length of one parent and that of the other, between the imprisonment of parents and that of their children, and between the imprisonment of brothers; argued that this was hereditary and not social factor because he saw no relationship between imprisonment and factors such as poverty, nationality, education, birth order, and broken homes -concluded that criminality was was associated with inherited traits and those with those traits should not be allowed to reproduce -he did not have accurate measures of all the environmental factors involved, resulted in overemphasis on influence of heredity -extremely difficult to control for the effects of a similar environment within the family itself; criminologists no longer attempt to establish the role of heredity in crime by studying families Twin and Adoption Studies -studying the criminality of twins and adoptees solves the problem of controlling the effects of heredity -results show a greater similarity of criminal behaviour among identical twins than fraternal twins, indicating it is at least partly hereditary -main problem is that similarities between identical twins may be a result of them being treated more similarly, as they look much more alike -this is controlled for by looking at sets of identical twins reared together, and sets of identical twins reared apart; although the sample size was small, results show antisocial behaviour can be inherited -Walters' meta-analysis, which took into account the sample sizes, quality of the research designs, gender and nationality of the twins, and the year of the studies; concluded that on avg. there is evidence of a hereditary basis of criminality -a more recent review argued that the difference between fraternal and identical twins is the result of "behavioural contagion", an approach that emphasizes similar environments and the performance of behaviours that occur among those who are socially related, rather than of a similar heredity -a study by Hutchings and Mednick indicated that adopted boys are more likely to commit crimes when their biological fathers have a criminal record -when only one of either the biological or adoptive father had a criminal record, the effect was not a great as it if were both; the magnitude of the effect of the criminality of the adoptive father was weaker than that of the biological father -the studies were expanded to compare with noncriminal adoptees, and repeated with female adoptees -the research found that the probability of the adoptee being convicted of a crime was influenced by the number of court convictions of their biological parents, but not of their adoptive parents; true for property offenses but not violent offenses -later reanalyses of the same data found that socioeconomic status of the adoptive and biological parents, the personality disorders of the biological parents, and the number of placements before the final adoption all influenced adoptees' convictions; again held true for property offenses but not violent ones -two limitations of adoption studies: • many of the adoptive parents engaged in less criminal behaviour than the normal population, making it difficult to generalize about the effects of family environment • many studies found hereditary effects only for petty and property offenses, not for more serious and violent offenses Neurotransmitters -are chemicals that allow for the transmission of electrical impulses within the brain and are the basis for the brain's processing of information; therefore underlie all types of behaviour -the levels of three different neurotransmitters may be associated with antisocial behaviour: serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine -Scerbo and Raine found that antisocial people have significantly lower levels of serotonin than do normal people -it is important to control for alcohol abuse when examining the effects of neurotransmitters -neurotransmitters are metabolized in the brain by a genetically encoded enzyme called monoamine oxidase (MAO); it is responsible for the breakdown of neurotransmitters and may influence behaviour if its level of activity is exceedingly low or high -Caspi and colleagues found that maltreated children were more likely to engage in antisocial behaviour if they also had low MAO activity levels in their brains; a person's genetic heritage moderates the effect that environment has on that person's behaviour -research on whether manipulation of neurotransmitters through drugs can reduce antisocial behaviour is mixed, but with encouraging results -neurtotransmitter levels can also be affected by changes in the environment e.g. diet, living in stressful conditions Hormones -mixed results on whether testosterone plays a significant role in human aggressive and violent behaviour -castration of sexual offenders has greatly reduced recidivism for sex crimes, but not nonsexual crimes or other antisocial or violent behaviour -however there are several possible causal paths between testosterone and aggressive behaviour • certain types of aggressive behaviour may cause a rise in testosterone (causal path is opposite direction) • some individuals may generally have normal levels of testosterone but may respond to situations to certain situations with high levels of testosterone • social variables may intervene in the relationship e.g. high testosterone may result in poor social integration, leading to higher levels of crime and deviance • relationship may be caused by other biological variables e.g. high testosterone associated with low serotonin levels; maybe the combo of these two levels of neurotransmitters causes the impulsive and aggressive acts -biological changes after ovulation have been linked to irritability and aggression; research is mixed on the strength of this linkage -at least a small percentage of women are susceptible to cyclical hormone changes that result in a patterned increase in hostility The Central Nervous System -most investigation has focused on the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, since they are involved with goal-directed behaviours, impulses, and emotions -disturbances in the frontal lobe tend to affect neuropsychological performance, and in the temporal lobe behaviours that are more directly emotional in expression -most repeat violent offenders have EEG scan abnormalities -relationship between psychopathy and EEG abnormality is more uncertain; research is too broad in focus -use of CT, MRI, PET, and SPECT shows that the frontal dysfunction may characterize violent offenders while temporal lobe dysfunction may characterize sexual offending, offenders with conjoint violent and sexual behaviour are thought to be characterized by both frontal and temporal lobe dysfunction The Autonomic Nervous System -ANS is responsible for responses such as increased heart rate, sweating, increased respiration, dilating pupils etc. that are shown in fight or flight situations -children experience these anxiety responses in anticipation of punishment; this can be considered a primary socializing agent for kids; if they feel anxious because they know their parents will punish them then they will avoid situations that induce punishment -if the fight or flight response is activated slowly or at low levels in situations where punishment is
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