Biological Explanations of Criminal Behaviour
Crime theories are still in a development stage; it is an evolutionary process that continues to this day. Crime is still a complex and misunderstood phenomenon with no concrete evidence when it comes to human behavior. Throughout time there have been endless amounts of crime theories, few of which revolve around biological explanations. We have Cesare Lombroso and the Positive School who thought that criminals were genetically different from the rest of the general population, that they were biologically aggressive, had criminal traits and/or born as criminals. There is also William Sheldon’s theory of body types, called the somatotype theory, that argued the mesomorph body type to be the most prone to commit crime or deviant behavior.
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It argues that behavior is caused by genetic influences and that individuals have inherited predispositions. Nurture, on the other hand, argues that environmental influences shape and modify human behavior. Although “Few behavioral scientists today adhere to either of these extreme views. A consensus has been made emerging over the past 10 to 15 years that the ‘truth’ lies somewhere in between a ‘nature plus nurture’ perspective” (Fishbein, 2010, p. 37). It is the idea of trying to find a combined theory and create middle ground. Within determinism it is believed that “The acceptance of biological explanations for human behavior has been thought by many to preclude the possibility of free will” (Fishbein, 2010, p. 38). This idea believes that freedom is illusory and all events, including human actions and choices, are fully determined by preceding events. In the end they created, once again like nature versus nurture, a middle ground: conditional free will. Conditional free will combines both views into one with the idea having individuals choose a course of action within a preset range of possibilities. Finally there is genetic behavior conflicting with learned behavior. Contemporary scientists in the field of genetics, biochemistry, neuroscience and psychology are using more advanced technology to look for a genetic explanation of violent, antisocial and criminal behaviors. Although there are many counter arguments by