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Chapter 2

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PSYC 3402
Ralph Serin

Chapter 2 Summary Theories of Crime Evolutionary and Biological What makes a strong theory A theory is simply an explanation of a particular phenomenon A strong theory is Parsimoniousclearly identifies the casual mechanisms and corresponding mediator and moderators underlying the phenomenon of interest is testable and hence falsifiable via hypotheses and predictionsis based on empirical data and is modified in response to new datapossesses interdisciplinary compatibility respects gender ethnicity and cultureBackground and historical context Franz Gall father of phrenology a theoretical perspective positing that there is a relationship between the shape and size of a persons head and hisher behaviour personality and mental ability Cesare Lombroso took Galls work one step further and began comparing criminals and prostitutes to normal segments of the populationLombroso argued that criminals possess distinctive physical features such as sloping foreheads and twisted lips often not observed in the normal subjectsHe refers to these features as atavisms and proposed that criminals from an evolutionary point of view had more in common with Neanderthals than the modern day man Lombroso is considered the father of criminology Charles Darwin wrote the origin of species and posited that human had evolved through mechanisms of natural selection Francis Galton Darwins cousinfounded Eugenics which was ultimately responsible for forced sterilizations forced abortion and death campsBiological explanation for crime Definition of crime is a complex task While some researchers have examined the link between biology and crime by comparing the normal individuals who have been officially diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder conduct disorder or psychopathy others have used measures of aggression or composite indices of antisocial behaviourResearchers often define crime using legal definitions and examine whether biological factors correlate or predict official criminal offending in the form of arrest or convictions Genetics and crime twins adoption and molecular genetics Twin studiescan help separate the genetic from environmental influences to some degreeDizygotic twins have a 30 correlation between criminal behaviour and genetics and monozygotic twins have a 70 correlationTherefore concordance rates are higher among monozygotic twins than dizygotic twinsThe rates are converted into a heritability coefficientA descriptive statistic that represents the proportion of phenotypic variance in a given behaviour Other methods permit the explanation of two types of environmental factors non
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