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Criminal Behaviour

Essay by   •  January 28, 2012  •  Essay  •  1,482 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,468 Views

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Criminal behavior

For centuries, the "Nature versus nurture" debate has spawned and still continues; this has proven to be one that has clouded the issues in the field of criminal behavior. In addition, the paper is writing about the causes of criminal behavior and to explore the mysteries.

Before discussing the complex debate on nature versus nurture, we must define criminal behavior first. Criminal behavior suggests many kinds of acts and for that reason, researchers suggest four broad definitions of criminal behaviors. These four areas are illegal criminal behavior or actions that are punishable under the law, moral criminal behavior which refers to action that violate the norms of religions and morality and are said to be punished by a supreme spiritual being, social criminal behavior which refers to actions that violate the norms of custom and tradition and are punishable by a community. Finally, psychological criminal behavior that refers to actions that may be disappointing to the actor but impose pain or loss on others - this is anti-social behavior.

Criminal behavior has always been a focus for psychologists due to the debate between nature versus nurture. One example concerns the debate about the effects of testosterone, the powerful hormone in males that affects their behavior. Recently, researchers at Florida State University found conclusive evidence that hormones can contribute to aggressive and even violent behavior in humans. Experiments with lab animals prove this. At the same time, evidence shows that environmental factors may also play a role in how and to what degree testosterone influences behavior.

"It's a concern that the importance of environmental influences will be lost in the fanfare about genetics," says Professor Robert Plomin at the Institute of Psychiatry in London. "The first message from genetic research is that genes play a surprisingly important role for almost all complex traits, whether behavioral or medical. But the second message is just as important: individual differences in complex traits are due at least as much to environment influences as they are to genetic influences." In other words, environmental influences may be at least as importance as genetic factors in determining intelligence, behaviors and other aspects of personality.

Biological theories in criminology deal with evolution and genetic influences on criminal behavior. These theories attribute human and social change to genes that are passed from generation to generation. The perception that crime has become one of the most serious problems in society encouraged many researchers to find the causes of criminal behavior. They have been focusing on the biological causes and believe that a biological base exists and an understanding of biological influences would be useful in predicting and preventing criminal behavior in people.

Researches concerning the biological nature of aggression and criminal behavior have categorized their results into several factors. First, and foremost, drugs and alcohol are discussed as chemicals that poison the brain which causes changes in one's aggressive tendencies. Moreover, neurotransmitters are also important factors in behavior. Excessive levels of dopamine and reduced striate activity can account for disruption in motor and emotional ability causing psychoses and other mental illness. Lastly, low levels of serotonin lead to aggressive acts especially to those who attempt or commit suicide.

The first solid evidence of an inborn predisposition to criminality was provided by twin and adoption studies. Researchers surveyed nine twin-criminality studies; in these studies, identical and fraternal twins were compared with respect to "concordance" of criminality between the two groups. As a result they found identical twins to have concordance of 0.69, compared to only 0.33 for same-sex fraternal twins. Other numerous studies of twins, and both biological and adopted siblings, have shown that shared home experience have a minimal effect in shaping the personalities of children... the similarities shown by siblings reared together appear to derive mostly from their shared genetic inheritance, and not from

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