Chapter 3: Biological Theories on Crime
Chapter 3: Biological Theories on Crime CCJ 3117-799
Popular in Theories of Criminal Behavior
Popular in Criminology and Criminal Justice
This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kristin Smith on Saturday September 12, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to CCJ 3117-799 at University of South Florida taught by Nayab Hakim in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 101 views. For similar materials see Theories of Criminal Behavior in Criminology and Criminal Justice at University of South Florida.
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Date Created: 09/12/15
Chapter 3 Biological Theories of Crime Biological theories of crime 0 250 years 0 Focuses on identifying and understanding unique qualities of individuals and showing how they relate to participation in criminal activities 0 Blame is often removed from the discussion of biological perspective explanations 0 Medical model view 0 Criminal behavior can be fixed or cured The Positivist School of Thought o Idea that it is possible to identify specific causes of behavior using scientific approaches 0 Roots in the scientific revolution of the sixteenth century 0 Based on observation and comparison 0 Three core assumptions 1 All individuals are biologically unique and different from other people 2 Differences in individual makeup are believed to account for differences in behavior 3 Criminal behavior is the result of specific differences in physical constructions and characteristics of individuals that can be identified through observation Physiognomy and Phrenology o Physiognomy made popular by Johan Caspar in 1700s 0 Sought to identify distinct facial features of those Who commit crimes I Men Without beards I Women With beards 39 Weak chins 39 Shifty eyes 0 Phrenology 0 Popular in 1790s1800s o Focused on shape and contours of head 0 Idea that different parts of the brain controlled different social activities and thinking processes 0 Contours of the head could be felt to determine behavior Lombroso and Atavism Cesare Lombroso is the most popular early biological theorist along with his book The Criminal Man 1876 Argued that criminals were less evolved forms of mankind or evolutionary throwbacks o Referred to as Atavists o Likely to display many characteristics of born criminals I Known as I Large head protruding lips narrow forehead long arms etc Believed criminals existed in three basic forms 1 Born criminals were less developed physically mentally and socially than normal people 2 Insane criminals commit crime because of a mental deficiency or due to alcoholdrugs 3 Criminaloids are a general class of people who do not have special characteristics or mental disorders but may partake in crime under certain conditions Enrico Ferri 0 studied under Lombroso 0 added to earlier work with components of social economin and political factors as contributors to crime Ferri proposed his own categorization of criminals 0 Born and Insane criminals maintained from Lombroso s ideas 0 Added Occasional criminals and Criminals by Passion Ferri believed it was necessary to study physical characteristics age gender and social aspects of individuals to understand causes of crime Raffaele Garofalo early positivist from Italy focused on developing a universal definition of crime 0 He called this natural crime 0 Believed crime was a result of psychological in uences These early theorists aided the development of criminal anthropology o Began in Europe developed in US in 1890s Arthur MacDonald o Introduced the term criminology to the US in 1893 o Credited as the first American criminologist o Focused on the underdeveloped nature degeneracy of criminal offenders 0 Criminal anthropology never gained a stronghold in America and eventually faded from in uence Charles Goring s work brought about the end of Lombroso s in uence 0 Compared university students with imprisoned criminals 0 Found that the physical features identified by Lombroso could not be associated with criminality o Showed that individuals who experienced frequent and long imprisonments were smaller in height and weight than others Body Type Theories 0 Somatotyping o Categorizing individuals based on their physical traits and looking for correlations between types of bodies and those individuals behaviors o Ernst Kretschmer and later William Sheldon and the Glueks reintroduced the idea that the size and shape of the human body could correlating with the likelihood of engaging in crime 0 Kretschmer presented three ideal body types 1 Asthenic type thin and tall with narrow shoulders I Most often associated with small thefts and fraud I Tends to begin and end their criminal career early 2 Athletic type Muscular and well developed I Most likely to commit violent crime I Stable patterns of crime throughout life 3 Pyknic type Softer or short and fat I More likely to be involved in theft and fraud and may be violent I Begin their criminal career later in life 0 The dysplastic type was added later I Combination of the three previous types I Variety of crimes 0 Sheldon a physician is credited with bringing the original ideas of Kretschmer to American thinking in the 1940s 0 More rigorously tested the core ideas of somatotypes 0 Proposed three types as well acknowledged that everyone has some degree of these characteristics 0 Uses a seven point scale to re ect the degree to which they have traits of each type 1 Endomorph Shorter smaller but heavier individual with small bones and is generally softsmooth I Tends to be outgoing comfortable and soft 2 Ectomorph Thinner person relatively tall lean and fragile and may have a smaller face I Introverted tends to avoid crowds and may have functional problems I More likely to be involved in property crimes or crimes of theft 3 Mesomorph Athletic with more developed muscles and an overall larger body frame and limbs I More likely to be involved in violence Genetic Theories o Emphasizes genetic predisposition 0 Criminal behavior runs in family 0 Bad families pass a trait of criminality to their children 0 These theories often lead to the belief that crime is inevitable or deterministic 0 Contemporary theorists acknowledge genetic predisposition o EAHooten 1930s1940s anthropologist o Believed in deterministic inheritance 0 Compared 14000 prisoners with 3000 noncriminals I Numerous physical differences I Criminals were inferior in nearly every way 0 The American Criminal I Argued for complete segregation of criminals I Drew in a large amount of criticism 0 Richard Dugdale and Henry Goddard o Believed in the inheritability of crime but offered a less deterministic view 0 By studying family trees believed that criminality may be inherited but is not a definite behavioral predispostition 0 As a result of the many genetic studies and theories various states developed laws allowing the forced sterilization of habitual criminals as part of their sentence 0 Upheld through Buck v Bell 1927 0 The studying of twins and criminality became popular in America Europe and Japan in the 1930s 0 Identical twins show a concordance rate 69 three times higher than that of fraternal twins 33 o A problem with these studies are that identical twins are often treated similarly as oppose to fraternal twins especially those of opposite genders 0 Some researchers have used adoption studies while others observe children not raised by their biological parents and then compare their rates of criminality to their parents 0 1960s research began to explore the idea of isolating a specific gene that could predict a predisposition to crime 0 1 in every 10002000 men have two Y chromosomes 0 Men with XYY chromosomes tend to be larger and taller stronger masculine traits scored lower on intelligence tests I More masculine More aggressive I Common among men in mental health facilities 0 Since this is very rare it cannot explain criminal involvement of most individuals Contemporary Genetic Theories Recent genetic theories focus on identifying specific genes that are associated with involvement in crime 0 Made possible by successful mapping of the human genome 2001 Genetics and prior victimization may interact to create a greater likelihood of criminal behavior Beaver 2008 These modern studies show that genes are only important predisposing factors Recent Biological Theories Focus on the biological and physiological result of what we put into our bodies and how malfunctioning parts of the brain may be associated with crime Hormone research 0 High levels of testosterone may produce high levels of aggression in men 0 PMS and varying estrogen levels may lead to criminal behavior in women 0 This research may misinterpret causeandeffect relationships The role of dieting 0 Low blood sugar relates to irritability nervousness and depression 39 Can lead to aggression 0 High levels of sugar are related to hyperactivity I May lead to irritability and aggression Liggio 1969 studied the diets of delinquents compared to nondelinquents 0 Found that delinquents eat foods with higher levels of starch which transform to sugar pasta bread potatoes 0 Pregnant women who eat a diet rich with fatty acids have children who test higher on intelligence tests have better finemotor skills and are less likely to be involved in antisocial behaviors Differences in brain functioning 0 Children who were hyperactive in their adolescence were six times as likely to be arrested than those who were not 0 Children with ADD and ADHD are more likely to be involved in antisocial behavior 0 Birth complications may predispose an individual to violence 0 Epilepsy and traumatic brain injuries are linked with levels of violence Briken Haberman Berner and Hill 2005 o Prenatal exposure to alcohol is one of the strongest links between brain development and later criminality AtaVism Cesare Lombroso Charles Goring E A Hooten Ernst Kretschmer Genetic Predisposition Key Terms Hormones Phrenology PositiVism Somatotyping William Sheldon XYY Chromosome