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Genetics and environment: inseparable when discussing criminality.

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Introduction

Genetics and environment: inseparable when discussing criminality. Criminality is an ancient behaviour that appears with the civilization of the human being. Indeed even though one can measure aggression and violence in animals it could never be associated to criminality, for this concept involves the notion of law and moral that one transgresses. This is why criminality just as a concept could never be a purely biological outcome, because its roots are founded in society and thus in environment. When studying such a subject one must remember that we are discussing a social problem as well as a psychological problem and a biological one. Indeed we are going to discuss that different biological causes lead to criminality or predispose someone to it, then we will discuss the environmental factors. When discussing the genetics of criminality one must first specify what kind of criminality is in question. Indeed it would be hard to talk about the possible genetic inference in fraudulent behaviour. This is why we want to make a differentiation between violent criminality and non violent criminality. We are going to discuss the possibility of genes having some influence in criminality because "though the belief that single genetics defects produce criminal behaviour is untenable, behaviour is regarded as an emergent function of physical systems and brain activity which provides the causal (generative) ...read more.

Middle

were the men most frequently convicted for violent criminals offences this coinciding with the fact that between 15 and 25 men experience the highest levels of testosterone in their life. Another correlation can be made by the fact that testosterone is an essentially male hormone; they are thus incriminated more frequently for violent crimes than women. Indeed when injecting testosterone into women Van Honk found that their heart beat went up significantly when looking at angry faces (2001). He concluded that testosterone made reactions more vigorous. However Kalat (2003) indicates that the problem with explaining violent criminal behaviours is that "environment stressors could affect hormone levels and violent behaviours independently". Indeed one could imagine a factor inducing criminal behaviour and at the same time inducing the production of higher levels of testosterone. In conclusion to this first discussion around the possibilities of genetic factors inducing criminality, it is important to say that simply physiology could be at the source of getting involved in violent criminal behaviour or not. Indeed a study by Raine, Reynolds, Verables, Mednick, and Farrington in 1998 showed that boys that were tall for their age at three were more aggressive and more fearless. ...read more.

Conclusion

Indeed obtaining the head injury is an environmental factor however the brain damage occurring from it becomes a biological factor both correlated to the criminal behaviour. What was even more interesting was the fact that this study showed that non treated head injuries could be correlated to violent criminal behaviours in later life whereas academics difficulties could be correlated to non violent criminal behaviours. This last study leads us to our conclusion to the discussion. It seems that the differentiation between non violent criminality and violent criminality is essential, they are two extremely separate behaviours that cannot be treated together. It would seem that the evidence for genetic predisposition to non violent criminality is quasi inexistent and thus finds all its precursors within the environment of the individual. However strong evidence has been brought up to show the importance of genetic factors when considering violent criminality creating a predisposition to crime going hand in hand with environmental factor, becoming the precursors to the behaviour in question. As a concluding comment it should be said that biological, psychological and social explanations are closely connected and complementary when it comes to criminal behaviour (Koutouvidis, Minogianni, 2003). Brennan (1997) proposes to look in to personality theories, for "personality is a concept that is an essential feature of any acceptable theory of criminality. Personality provides taxonomy of human behaviour and relates to genetics and biological variables". ...read more.

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