Chapter 5

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Woodsworth College Courses
Scot Wortley

Chapter 6 Notes: Biology, Psychology and Criminology Trait Theory: An approach that looks at the combination of biological or psychological attributes that might explain criminality.  has two major divisions: biological aspect and psychological aspects Biological Trait Theory - Sociobiology: views human behaviour as being motivated by inborn biological urges and desires.  The urge to survive and reproduce motivates human behaviour Principles of biological trait theory: - Not all humans are born with equal potential to learn and achieve bc we all have different genetic make ups. Known as equipotentiality - The importance of brain functioning, mental processes, and learning. - Learning is influenced by instinctual drives developed over history - Instincts are inherited and non-learned dispositions that activate behaviour patterns - Some believe that biochemical conditions control and influence antisocial behaviour. (acquired through diet and environment) 1. Nutritional Deficiencies - Minimum vitamins and minerals are needed for proper brain functioning, a lack may result in physical, mental and behavioural problems. 2. Sugar and Crime - Diets high in sugar and carbohydrates are linked to violence and aggression - This is a controversial view bc there’s no research to support either side very well 3. Hypoglycemia - A biochemical condition, in this case a deficiency of sugar, which influences antisocial behaviour and criminality - Has been linked to outbursts of antisocial behaviour and violence 4. Hormonal Influences - Abnormal levels of androgens produce aggressive behaviour - High levels of testosterone can alter behaviour 5. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) - During PMS women are beset by irritability and poor judgement as a result of hormonal changes, which places them at a greater risk for criminality. 6. Allergies - Some allergies cause swelling in the brain and sensitivity in the central nervous system, which are linked so mental, emotional and behaviour problems. 7. Environmental Contaminants - Dangerous quantities of some chemicals/gases are linked to emotional and behaviour disorders, severe illness, or death. Neurophysiologic Conditions and Crime - The study of brain activity that looks at neurological and physical abnormalities acquired during the fetal or perinatal stage, which are thought to control behaviour. - Neurological functioning is measured in a variety of ways (visual awareness tests, verbal IQ tests, memory tests, and electroencephalograph) - Electroencephalograph: a device that can record the electronic impulses given off by the brain, commonly called brain waves. - Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Minimal Brain Dysfunction, ADHD, tumors, brain injury etc. are brain problems that can have an effect on behaviour and ultimately crime - Persistent criminality has been linked to dysfunction in the frontal and temporal regions of the brain, which regulate and inhibit human behaviour. - Abnormal levels of some neurotransmitters, including androgens, dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, etc have been linked with aggression. - Arousal Theory: the view that people with a high arousal level seek powerful stimuli to maintain an optimal level of arousal; often associated with violence, aggression and sociopathy. Genetics and Crime - This relationship is controversial because it implies that the propensity to commit crime is present at birth and cannot be altered. Evolutionary Views of Crime - As human beings have evolved certain traits have become ingrained and responsible for some crime patterns. - Two general evolutionary theories of crime: 1. r/K Selection Theory: holds that all organisms can be located along a continuum, whch is based on their repoductive drives in relation to their environment • One end= R-Selection individuals: reproduce whenever they can and invest little in their offspring • The other end= K-selection individuals: reproduce slowly and take care in raising their offspring  This theory is based on the idea that natural selection favours different sets of adaptation. 2. Cheater Theory: suggests that a subpopulation of men has evolved with genes that incline them toward extremely low parental involvment. Psychological Trait Theories Psychodynamic Theory: the human personality is controlled by unconscious mental processes developed early in childhood. - The human mind performs three separate funct
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