Are Criminals Born or Made?

861 Words4 Pages
Within biological and environmental Psychology both fields share varied beliefs as to where criminological behaviour is derived. Is criminal behaviour inherited or is it down to effects of the environment? Biological psychology theorists (BPT) believe that the criminal is born that way whereas environmental psychology theorists (EPT) believe criminal behaviour is learned. There is a range of research studies that support both these arguments. Cesare Lombroso (CL) was a Psychiatrist that believed that criminals had common facial characteristics and that they were “born criminals” which he also referred to as “atavisms”. His theory was that genetic factors or abnormalities that are inherited influence individuals to commit crime and that it was the individuals destiny to become a criminal`. This can be identified through the shape of their skulls, large ears and lips, long arms and a flattened nose. He also believed that men were more likely to commit crime than woman as they were more narrow-minded of their interests. CL theory has been largely criticised as it is very much descriptive based rather than experimental. His theory is also very dated now you would not be able to label someone a criminal purely based on their facial features and how they look. One study carried out by Christiansen (1977) as cited by Van Dusen, Sarnoff and Mednick (1983) is the study of 3586 twin pairs of mono- and dizygotic twins. Monozygotic (MZ) twins are genetically identical whereas dizygotic (DZ) twins are genetically similar. In this study all sets of twins were brought up in the same environment and were examined on the concordance of criminal behaviour. The MZ twins were found to have a 52 % concordance rate whereas the DZ twins only had 22% concordance rate which shows a strong correlation between genetics and criminal behaviour. This study supports CL theory that genetic
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