Study Guides (238,069)
Canada (114,906)
Sociology (551)
SOC 2700 (58)

chapter 3 .doc

6 Pages
Unlock Document

University of Guelph
SOC 2700
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 fathe
More Less

Related notes for SOC 2700

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.