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Flashcards in AC2.1 Deck (8):

What are Biological theories of crime?

Biological theories state that physical characteristics can determine criminality
Some theories believe that criminality is genetic and heritable


XYY theory

The presence of an extra Y chromosome induces aggressive behaviour
Jacob et al (1965) found that more Male prisoners had extra Y chromosomes
Serial killer John Wayne Gacy had an extra Y chromosome


Twin theory

Criminal behaviour is inherited
Lange (1929) found identical twins shared common characteristics, so criminal tendencies would be shared
The Kray twins were identical


Adoption studies

Determines whether children will adopt characteristics from their biological or adoptive parents
Studies found a high proportion of 14,000 boys whose parents had been involved in crime had criminal convictions


Physiological theories: Lombroso

Facial features can determine criminality
Criminals are a separate species more similar to primitive beings with atavistic features such as:

Low forehead
Large jaw
Long arms
Large ears
Flat nose


Physiological theories: Sheldon

There are 3 somatypes: Endomorph (fat), Ectomorph (skinny) and mesomorph (ripped)
Mesomorphs are more likely to be criminal and ectomorphs are least likely to be criminal


Physiological theories: Brain abnormality

Damage to the Pre-frontal cortex area of the brain can lead to a loss of self control and aggressive behaviour
Raine et al used PET scans to study the brains of killers and found common damage in this area


Physiological theories: Neurochemicals

Studies link low levels of serotonin to high levels of aggression
Screbo and Raine studied anti-social adults and children and found low serotonin in all of them