What Are The Origins Of Criminal Behavior Criminology Essay

“ Which factors contribute the most to criminal behavior – biological, sociocultural or cognitive? ” In this paper the beginnings of offense rooted in all of the three degrees of psychological analysis are traveling to be introduced. At first the history of theories refering offense beginnings is traveling to be introduced by looking at classical and neoclassical theories like the one by Cornish and Clarke ‘s ( 1986 ) followed by ecological theories and findings by Andre M. Guerry every bit good as more recent theories by Freud.

Subsequently the biological degree of analysis is traveling to be discussed by looking at duplicate surveies for illustration Bouchard and Lykken ( 1990 ) . Findingss by Blair et Al. ( 1999 ) are traveling to explicate the other portion of the part of biological degree of analysis to offense – encephalon disfunctions. Next the function of endocrines and neurotransmitters in condemnable behaviour is traveling to be discussed. Cognitive degree of analysis will be analyzed through cognitive deformations and rational pick theory by Cornish and Clark ( 1987 ) . The last degree of analysis – sociocultural is traveling to be discussed while looking and discoursing poorness, unemployment and self- fulfilling prognostication followed by the research by Jahoda ( 1954 ) and Rosenthal and Jacoson ( 1986 )

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At the terminal the decision will garner all the information and reply the research inquiry by explicating the importance of the interaction between the three degrees of analysis.


Any behaviour which has a condemnable purpose and is punishable by jurisprudence can be defined as a condemnable behaviour. Many programmes on telecasting are connected to offense. Solving condemnable conundrums or following tribunal instances seems to be entertaining and intriguing for people. That happens because offense involves so many facets of life, biological, cultural and cognitive- therefore there are many secret plans in the shows which draw people ‘s attending. The beginnings of condemnable behaviour are complex by taking an integrative expression at this sort of behaviour the attack of measuring which factors contribute the most to the condemnable behaviour can be taken. Psychologists struggle to reply the inquiry of the beginnings of it as there are three attacks to this sort of behaviour but none of those seems to be ruling the other. Some research workers claim that those three factors: biological, sociocultural and cognitive combined together every bit lend to the condemnable behaviour.

In the past people used to believe that certain types of people were going felons. They were normally from cultural minorities or they shared certain physical characteristics. Even nowadays there stereotype connected to people involved in offenses exists. We are more prawn to impeach person who is tall, good built and has cicatrixs or tattoos on his organic structure so a peacefully looking adult male. Maybe it is connected to the fact that biological degree of analysis dominates the others when it comes to finding of felons? If any of the factors from the psychological research is ruling the other possibly we can foretell who is traveling to go a condemnable looking merely at some certain characteristics. Possibly this sort of research can assist us in condemnable jurisprudence? As all of these inquiries arise in many people ‘s caputs and it is deserving to hold a expression at all three degrees of analysis and discourse them to show the recent difference refering condemnable behaviour.

History of theories on the orgins of offense:

While speaking about criminology a short expression back at the history needs to be taken. Demonological Theory of condemnable behaviour was established in the eighteenth century. It consisted of supernatural accounts of criminology which emerged from the fact that theological accounts of the world were prevailing. The Classical Theory which emerged later was based on free will and reason and led to Neoclassical theories like the one by Cornish and Clarke ‘s ( 1986 ) , their argued that the felons were rational in their actions nevertheless they weight the costs, chances and benefits of their offenses. In this theory single traits and societal factors were taken into consideration. The first theory which took informations and statistics as a base was the Ecological Theory ; it can be categorized as a geographical attack to offense, as ecology is a subdivision of biological science which focuses on relationships between worlds and the environment which they inhabit. This attack led to the findings by Andre M. Guerry, that the wealthier the environment was, the more offense was taking topographic point, findings were based on France offense statistics. It was so concluded that the wealthier environment led to the greater chance of offense as more goods were available. Later Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet used the available statistics to dispute the already bing Classical Theory which was based on reason and free will and argued that offense is non based merely on free will.

When it comes to modern criminology and psychological and biological theories there are several which need to be mentioned. One of the early biological theories is based on the mentality of the individual ; harmonizing to Ernest Hooton there seem to be certain characteristics or organic structure types which distinguish a felon: tattooing, thin organic structure hair and face fungus, thin superciliums, low and inclining shoulders, thin lips. Sheldon ( 1940 ) was a research worker who led to the innovation of three somatypes which are the descriptions of the manner the organic structure is built. One of the somatypes – pyknic seems to be related the most to the organic structure type of felons. Current Biological Theories focus on so called “ nature vs. raising job ” which focuses on explicating if condemnable behaviour has its roots in genetic sciences or the environment. The familial attack is studied chiefly on Twin Studies as they provide turn out for intelligence heritage and look into whether the condemnable nature can be inherited every bit good. Psychological theories refering condemnable behaviour have one thing in common: they search for condemnable pathology in worlds. Freudian Theory focal points on inherent aptitude and unconsciousness in human behaviour. His theories in general were non targeted at condemnable behaviour but they help to explicate it. Many Freudian theoreticians attribute condemnable behaviour to the personality conflicts or unresolved state of affairss from childhood which unconsciously can take people to condemnable behaviour. Other theory focal points on the relationship between IQ and offense, some research workers claim that the lower the IQ is the higher possibility of going a condemnable. It is due to the bad consequences at schools or even at work which lead to defeat and humiliation which can be the cause of condemnable behaviour.

After adverting a few of bing theories it is deserving to travel to different degrees of analysis through which the condemnable behaviour can be analyzed. As it was mentioned before there are three degrees of analysis: biological, sociocultural and cognitive. Biological degree of analysis focal points on genetic sciences and environment. It helps to understand how those two factors coexist. Sociocultural degree of analysis shows how the societal context influences the behaviour it is focused on persons and groups and on the relationship between the person and the group. It was proved that the person can act upon the group every bit good as the group can act upon an person. This degree of analysis besides takes a expression at civilization. Cognitive degree of analysis focal points on construction and maps of the head and investigates how people obtain cognition every bit good as how do they utilize it subsequently.

Biological degree of analysis as a offense beginning:

Biological degree of analysis was proven to be one of the factors lending to criminalism based on duplicate surveies. Bouchard and Lykken ( 1990 ) carried out a survey on monozygotic twins. Their survey focused on 50 six braces of monozygotic twins which were reared apart. Those twins were compared with the monozygotic twins reared together. The twins which were turning up apart from each other were tested by personality questionnaires, intelligence trials, countries of involvement questionnaires and some others. The environments in which they grew up were compared every bit good as their life narratives and sexual life histories were checked. All those trials were carried out individually for each of the twins so that neither of them could act upon the reply of the other. The information gathered provided prove for intelligence heritage and non merely. Monozygotic twins raised apart portion basic personal and psychic characteristics. This survey can take to the decision that as personal sensitivities can be inherited than besides the sensitivities for going a condemnable can. This is how biological degree of analysis contributes to condemnable behaviour. Further surveies which focused peculiarly on heritage of condemnable behaviour confirm to the decisions made on the footing of the survey by Bouchard and Lykken. Hutchings and Mednick ( 1975 ) found that biological factors combined with familial factors can find the behaviour of people. They carried out a survey on adoptive childs and rate of condemnable behaviour amongst them. It occurred that the highest rate of felons was raised up by an adoptive male parent who was a condemnable himself and they had a biological male parent who was a condemnable. If the biological male parent was a condemnable and the adoptive 1 was non the rate was still reasonably high. If merely the adoptive male parent was a condemnable the hazard of childs going felons was the lowest.

Some research shows that felons may hold encephalon disfunctions. The survey of Phineas Gage whose encephalon was damaged by an Fe rod and who subsequently displayed an antisocial behaviour can turn out this statement to be true. The country of the encephalon which was damaged in the highest extent was frontal lobe. The frontal lobe hypothesis states that there is a nexus between condemnable behaviour and malfunctioning of frontal cerebral mantle and limbic system. Findingss by Blair et Al. ( 1999 ) which are rooted in biological degree of analysis besides seem to back up the hypothesis that interaction between frontal cerebral mantle and limbic system can act upon condemnable behaviour. Blair by PET scanning convicted sociopaths was looking at the relationship between doing determinations and emotions. The findings were that there were damages of the tracts between the frontal lobe and amygdaloid nucleus. Those damages affect the personality into a great extent as because of them the development of empathy or feeling of guilt becomes about impossible. This may do people more shrimp to go a condemnable as without feeling of guilt or sympathizing with the others the individual can non see the effects of the offense committed every bit good as interacting with the remainder of the society becomes more hard with this sort of damage.

Neurotransmitters amongst others modulate emotion and temper ; endocrines are chemical substances used by our beings to extert the impact of neurotransmitters. Dopamine, one of the neurotransmitters and its overrun was proven to be one of the causes of psychotic behaviour and hence linked to antisocial behaviour and offense. Peoples with low 5-hydroxytryptamine degrees are besides the 1s who are more shrimp to act in an aggressive and antisocial manner and as a consequence more shrimp to perpetrate a offense. Low 5-hydroxytryptamine degrees have to coexist with certain personality traits to go responsible for aggressive behaviour. Male sex endocrine testosterone seems to be related to condemnable and violent behaviour. Surveies on both – males and females convicted for offense show that degree of testosterone of the wrongdoers is increased. Survey by Highley et Al. ( 1996 ) showed that amongst people with low 5-hydroxytryptamine degrees the higher degrees of testosterone significantly raised the aggression degrees.

Cognitive degree of analysis as a offense beginning:

Cognitive degree of analysis besides has its function in condemnable behaviour. The “ cognitive deformations ” or sometimes so called “ cognitive mistakes ” may be responsible for condemnable behaviour. Those are mistakes in believing which may take to the incorrect appraisal or attack to certain actions to protect oneself. Barriga, Landau, Stinson, Liau and Gibs ( 2000 ) distinguish between two sorts of cognitive deformations. Self- functioning 1s concentrate on protection of oneself from the offense which occurs in forcing off the guilt from oneself or advancing Acts of the Apostless of force towards the others. It serves the turning away of making negative self- image. Self corrupting deformations are opposite to self-seeking 1s. They make the person to fault himself for the negative state of affairss which occurred. The so called “ ego ” can non be protected. Self corrupting deformations include four factors which the individual follows: catastrophizing, overgeneralising, personalising and selective abstraction. Those factors lead the person to the feeling of guilt and hopelessness every bit good as fright that similar actions in the hereafter will hold a bad result. It leads to the decision that mothering can take to condemnable behaviour as the condemnable merely does non experience guilty after all. Whereas the deficiency of protection of oneself, faulting and catastrophizing can take to defeat and violent condemnable behaviour as the individual feels helpless.

Rational pick theory proposed by Cornish and Clark ( 1987 ) to be a beginning of condemnable behaviour provinces that felons are to the full cognizant of what they are making and that what they do is a consequence of a decision-making procedure. Harmonizing to this theory three theoretical accounts of condemnable behaviour can be found: exploited histrion, predestined histrion and rational histrion. The exploited histrion commits a offense which is a consequence of being mistreated by the society it can be perceived as retaliation. The foreordained histrion theoretical account represents a individual who can non cover with his or her impulses and can non command the environment which is a factor forcing to offense out of weakness. The rational histrion is the 1 who commits the offense by his ain pick and the determination is based on the benefits outweighing the costs of the offense. In by and large this theory assumes that felons merely seek for the benefit of their offenses.

Sociocultural degree of analysis as a offense beginning:

Poverty seems to play a large function in condemnable behaviour. It can be approached from different ways. One of them is a direct relation between poorness and offense which occurs because of the economic growing as for the last 40 old ages it caused higher offense rates. The offense rates when up when it comes to shoplifting, pick pocketing or for illustration robbery which are the actions taking to obtain money or valuable goods. That would intend that in so called “ rich states ” the poorness leads people to stealing taking in bettering their stuff state of affairs. The other relation is an reverse relation which can be seen in the rates of slayings committed in states with fast economical growing. Those rates fell down due o the money donated for instruction and different life manner. In hapless states the offense rates are still high. It leads to the decision that poorness so influences offense.

Unemployment can besides lend to offense. Very frequently it is mixed up with poorness being the beginning of offense ; nevertheless in some instances the deficiency of money is non a direct cause of condemnable behaviour. Unemployed people have a lower ego regard and can hold a feeling of weakness and deficiency of their utility in the society. Therefore the offenses are sometimes committed merely out of ennui or despair. Many surveies support this hypothesis as they show the correlativity between unemployment and offense rates.

Labeling theory which is widely used in sociology has it ‘s contemplation in psychological science, peculiarly in self – carry throughing prognostication. It means that if person is labeled as an castaway or condemnable it will merely come true because the labelled individual will populate up to it. Self- fulfilling prognostication is doing the premises which subsequently turn out to be true. One of the surveies carried out on this subject shows that there is a nexus between the theory and offense. Jahoda ( 1954 ) carried out a survey on Ghanan people. Boys were named at that place based on which twenty-four hours of the hebdomad they were born. The twenty-four hours of the hebdomad was believed to find male child ‘s character and disposition. Male childs who were born on Mondays were believed to be peaceable whereas those born on Wednesday -aggressive. In the constabulary studies it could be found that most of the arrested male childs were born on Wednesday whereas really few inmates were born on Mondays. Jahoda assumed so that self- fulfilling prognostication took a large portion in those results. The male childs were labeled as composure or aggressive and they were merely treated as they would be like that by the society and as a consequence they became what the society labeled them to go. The other experiment by Rosenthal and Jacoson ( 1968 ) on the IQ degrees amongst pupils can besides indirectly indicate that there may be a nexus between self-fulfilling prognostication and offense. This nexus can hold a contemplation on offenses today, if we label a individual as a felon based on his or her looks the individual may be treated like that by the society and as a consequence may really go a condemnable given the deficiency of other options because of the label which they carry.


Answering the inquiry: ” Which factors contribute the most to criminal behavior – biological, sociocultural or cognitive? ” is non easy. By analysing each of those factors and the history of theories about beginnings of the offense it can be concluded that none of these factors is taking. They need to interact or there has to be a happenstance in them happening together for the individual to go a condemnable. And even though those factors may happen the individual does non needfully hold to go a condemnable.

The old beliefs about the supernatural beginning of offense holding its roots in “ bad forces ” can be excluded nevertheless the theories on the higher offense rates in affluent environment or certain organic structure characteristics being responsible for condemnable behaviour were non that incorrect. Recent surveies show that certain somatypes are more vulnerable to go felons every bit good as that poorness can take to offense. However looking in a certain manner or being hapless can non find a condemnable on its ain. However some degrees of analysis interacting may allow us surmise that they are the beginnings of condemnable behaviour. For illustration biological degree of analysis interacting with sociocultural degree of analysis can force a individual to condemnable behaviour. For illustration a individual with low 5-hydroxytryptamine degrees who is by and large more aggressive than the remainder of the society can be perceived as a Wyrd and unsafe individual. As the society labels this individual as an castaway or a condemnable merely because of the aggression the self- fulfilling prognostication may take topographic point and the individual may merely perpetrate a offense out of desperation.

Looking at how complex finding the beginnings of the condemnable behaviour is and how many factors are connected to condemnable behaviour it can be concluded that none of the degrees of analysis: sociocultural, biological or cognitive contributes to the condemnable behaviour in the greatest extent. They need to coexist and interact for the condemnable behaviour to happen.

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