Criminal Behavior Essay

653 words - 3 pages

Many scholars have attempted to explain criminal behaviour by identifying a genetic trait or other biological causes or indicator for criminality (Cullen and Agnew, 2011). Ellis and Walsh (2011) argue that while there is not a single “criminal behaviour” genetic trait, there are genetic trait that are associated with crime. They further suggest that these traits might provide evolutionary advantages to their holders in some circumstances. For example, traits such as deception and cheating would likely be evolutionary advantageous to maximizing a male's reproductive capabilities. Ellis and Walsh suggest that these traits might be genetically inherited. This theory of genetic influence does not however suggest that behaviours are genetically determined. Behaviours are still assumed to be learned, with specific genetic traits influencing this process (Ellis and Walsh, 2011).Rowe (2011) suggests a similarly biologically driven theory. He argues that through their impact upon the central and autonomic nervous systems, genetic traits and biological harms can influence personality traits including those which are associated with criminality. In support of this notion are studies that have linked levels of testosterone and aggressiveness, low heart rate and criminality, weak skin conductance and criminality, as well as brain damage and lack of moral judgement (Rowe, 2011).Caspi, et al. (2011) present the theory that there are three super-traits which have various relationships with crime. The three super-traits they discuss are constraint, negative emotionality and positive emotionality. They note that the constraint and negative emotionality super-traits are related to self-control and with it criminality. This suggests that some individuals are more crime-prone. Individuals with the constraint and negative emotionality super-traits will be more likely to react on their impulses and provoke other to commit crimes. Like the theories presented by Ellis & Walsh and Rowe, the theory described in Caspi, et al's article suggests that criminal behaviour is influenced though not necessary caused by individual traits. Ellis & Walsh and Rowe suggest that these traits are biological in...

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