Atavistic form definition
A biological approach to offending that tributes criminal activity to the fact that offenders are genetic throwbacks or a primitive subspecies ill-suited to conforming to the rules of modern society. Such individuals are distinguishable by particular facial and cranial characteristics.
How did Lombroso see criminal behaviour
a natural tendency, rooted in the genealogy of those who engage with it.
What are ‘atavistic’ characteristics? definition
mainly features of the face and head (though can include other features), that make criminals physically different from the rest of us
Atavistic form - cranial characteristics
narrow, sloping brow, a strong prominent jaw, high cheekbones and facial asymmetry.
Atavistic form - other physical markers
dark skin and the existence of extra toes, nipples or fingers.
bloodshot eyes, curly hair and long ears
Sexual deviants characteristics
glinting eyes, swollen, fleshy lips and projecting ears
lips were thin and ‘reedy’
Besides physical traits, what other aspects of the born criminal was suggested by Lombroso?
insensitivity to pain, use of criminal slang, tattoos and unemployment
- examined facial and cranial features of Italian convicts
- 383 dead criminal skulls
- 3839 living criminal skulls
Concluded - 40% of criminal acts are not accounted for by atavistic characteristics but by people with atavistic characteristics.