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Psychology (9,695)
PSYC39H3 (201)
Chapter 2

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC39H3
Professor
David Nussbaum
Semester
Fall

Description
CHAPTER 2 Theories of Crime: Biological and Evolutionary Explanations Introduction What Makes a Strong Theory - theory: explanation of particular phenomenon - strong theory 1) parsimonious 2) clearly identifies causal mechanism and corresponding mediators and moderators underlying phenomenon of interest 3) testable and hence falsifiable via hypotheses and predictions 4) based on empirical data and modified in response to new data 5) possesses interdisciplinary compatibility 6) respects gender, ethnicity, and culture Background Historical Context - Franz Gall founding father of phrenology: relationship between shape of persons head and his/her personality, mental ability, and behaviours Johann Spurzheim (one of Galls students)applied these principles to explain why 30 women killed their children, but didnt have a control group Cesare Lombroso took Galls work and compared criminals (men and women, prostitutes) to normal segments of population (criminals had distinctive physical features) father of criminology - Charles Darwin believed humans evolved from ancestral species via natural selection cousin misused his work Galton founded eugenics: theory responsible for forced sterilization of those deemed unfit to reproduce in US, and atrocities that occurred under Hitlers regime Researching Biological Explanations of Crime Genetics and Crime Twins, Adoption, and Molecular Genetics TWIN STUDIES - behavioural genetics (relies heavily on study of twins and adoptions), help separate genetic from environmental influences (to some degree) every human shares about 99% of their DNA sequence w/ rest of human species, it is fixed, accounting for basic similarities so it focuses on the 1% of variance thats free to vary - genetic contribution inferred if concordance rates higher among MA than DZ twins - concordance rate typically converted into heritability coefficient=descriptive stat that represents proportion of phenotypic variance in given behaviour in sample and/or population that can be attributed to genetic variation among individuals recently, complex statistical approaches created and permit estimation of two types of environmental factors 1) shared environmental factors 2) non-shared environmental factors - criticisms that it may under/overestimate genetic contribution environment similar for MZ than DZ heritability estimates for MZ confounded by prenatal factors that arent necessarily genetic earlier twin studies criticized for using small sample sizes and subject to political influence ADOPTION STUDIES - take one of two forms1) parent-offspring adoption studies: concordance rates between adoptive parents and adoptees antisocial behaviour compared to rates between biological parents and adoptees, 2) sibling-offspring adoption studies: concordance rates between adoptive siblings compared w/ biological siblings related variation of parent-offspring is cross-fostering paradigm (adopted children have biological and adoptive parents who were criminal or non-criminal - strong adoption study: highest lvl of criminality when observed both sets of parents had criminal records (parent-offspring adoption study) - limitations 1) generalizability problems adoptees have higher rates of antisocial behaviour relative to rest of population 2) environments of adopted offspring tend to be more advantageous relative to general population=restricted range of shared environmental effects - Rhee and Waldman completed most comprehensive meta-analytic review 10 independent twin studies non-shared environment had highest concordance rate twin studies garnered higher heritability estimates than adoption studies genetic effects slightly higher for females than males genetic proportion increased w/ age (genes exerting more influence during adulthood) - gene-crime link likely not direct conduit, but function of mediational effects of inherited characteristics that predispose individual to antisocial behaviour - pathways to antisocial behaviour not usually direct, nor uni-dimensional rather results from complex interactions - considerable attention in past decade role genetics may play in either reducing or magnifyi
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