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Biology And Crime

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Category: Social Issues

Autor: anton 03 March 2011

Words: 598 | Pages: 3

Biology and crime

Before being assigned this paper and the reading of chapter six, I would have argued biology and crime were completely unrelated, and that crime was strictly environmental. It’s the classic nature vs. nurture argument. From the text and reading these articles I have found that while environmental factors do contribute, genetics also plays an important role in prediction. Now, in my opinion, it is a complex combination of two strong factors.

The text describes four Biosocial Perspectives on criminology: biochemical, neuropsychological, genetic, and evolutionary. The text also describes two popular studies of twin behavior, sets of twins were studied, some were monozygotic (identical), while others were dizygotic (fraternal). The criminal activities of monozygotic twins were more similar in that of dizygotic twins.

The first article I found supports genetic criminal behavior. Thomas Bouchard and his team have studied twins at the University of Minnesota since 1979. Many of the questions the Minnesota scientists ask focus on "nature vs. nurture.” The article describes how psychologists examine pairs of twins closely to learn how much of their behavior is determined by genetics and how much by the environment. Identical twins reared apart at birth are the Minnesota scientists focus. "There's a very significant and powerful genetic effect on intelligence,' Bouchard said.”Our data, and I'd like to leave some range to it, suggests that the amount of variation explained by genetic factors is somewhere between 50 and 70 percent, which is really a significant amount.' The Minnesota researchers found that most of the personality traits they measured "were influenced more by genes than by upbringing. Social potency, alienation, well-being, and harm avoidance were all found to be products of nature, not nurture. Even such qualities as respect for authority and adherence to high moral standards were found to be hereditary.' Bouchard I do believe the Minnesota study to have some truth however; several questions were not answered in this article. No information on the twins was given; I would have liked to know how much contact the twins had before the study was conducted.

The next article is extremely detailed and provided me with a lot of information. The first part of the article discusses Caesar Lambrusco and the history of the link between crime and biology. The author describes that in his opinion the best scientific work on the subject to date explores the connection between violent behavior and the neurotransmitter serotonin. Research has found low levels of serotonin can contribute to aggressive, impulsive and sometimes violent behavior, including suicide. Many factors influence serotonin production. Research has also concluded that Serotonin production can also be hereditary. Diets and consumption of alcohol also can lower serotonin levels.

Bettlehiem also explains that scientists have expanded on the work in recent years by looking for similarities in the criminal records of identical twins raised separately and studying chemical changes in the brains of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. The National Research Council in 1994 reported substantial evidence of genetic links to anti-social behavior but cautioned that the connection “is likely to involve many genes and substantial environmental variation.” Bettelheim

Bettelheim gives an unbiased opinion on this subject, he simply reports findings, but he has persuaded me to believe that several factors contribute to crime including biological factors.

Bettelheim, A. (1998, April 3). Biology and behavior. The CQ researcher, 8. Retrieved March 17, 2006, from http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre1998040300. Document ID: cqresrre1998040300.

Clemmitt, M. (2005, July 29). Intelligent design. The CQ researcher, 15, 637-660. Retrieved March 17, 2006, from http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre2005072900. Document ID: cqresrre2005072900.

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