Which Trait Theory Most explains criminal behavior?
In terms of Trait theories, which theory do you think most explains criminal behavior?
Criminal behavior can mostly be explained by the Biosocial Branch of Trait Theory. Individual traits by themselves cannot determine criminality. Outside factors such as the environment along with certain personality traits is what causes criminal behavior.
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Biosocial Trait Theories
Trait theory views criminality as a product of abnormal biological or psychological traits. It is based on a mix between biological factors and environmental factors. Certain traits alone cannot determine criminality. We are born with certain traits and these traits along with certain environmental factors can cause criminality (Siegel, 2013). According to (Siegel, 2013), the study of sociobiology sparked interest in biological or genetic makeup as an explanation for crime and delinquency. The thought is that biological or genetic makeup controls human behavior, and if this is true, then it should also be responsible for determining whether a person chooses crime or conventional behavior. This theory is referred to as trait theory (Siegel, 2013). According to Siegel (2013), due to the fact that offenders are different, one cannot pinpoint causality to crime to just a single biological or psychological attribute. Trait theorist looks at personal traits like intelligence, personality, and chemical and genetic makeup; and environmental factors, such as family life, educational attainment, economic factors, and neighborhood conditions (Siegel, 2013). There are the Biosocial Trait theories and the Psychological trait theories. I will look at the Biosocial Trait Theory to explain crime.
2. Biosocial Trait Theories
Biosocial approaches to the study of crime are founded on the idea that the environment and biological makeup interact in significant ways to influence behavior. In the theory there are multiple factors to consider when explaining criminal behavior. Biological factors increase the likelihood that an individual will engage in criminal behavior when these factors interact with psychological or social factors (Bernard, Snipes, and Gerould, 2010).
According to Bernard Snipes, and Gould (2010) early criminology associated criminal behavior with physical appearance. Physiognomy studied the face and phrenology studied the external shape of the skull. Cesare Lombroso extended the tradition of physiognomy and phrenology by studying all anatomical features of the human body. Lombroso used Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution to argue that criminals were biological throwbacks. He referred to these individuals as atavistic people who were more primitive and less highly evolved than their non-criminal counterparts. In Lombroso’s later studies he broke down criminals into three classes; born criminals...