Criminal Psychology Essay

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5a Describe the biological theories used to offer explanations of criminal behaviour. Physical type and body shape: Lombroso 1876, an Italian doctor and a criminal anthropologist first views were based on genetics. He argued that criminals were different then the rest of the population. He suggested that their look and behaviour was more primitive and that they did not evolve as well as the rest of us. He suggested that the primitive genetic form would have large jaws, high cheek bones, large ears, extra nipples, toes and fingers and were insensitive to pain. He argues that the criminals were stuck between modern and primitive humans and were unable to adapt to the modern morality. Lombroso suggested that he could detect physiological differences between different types of criminals. E.g.: Murderers would have cold, glassy, bloodshot eyes, curly abundant hair, strong jaws, long ears and thin lips. While the sex offender would have glinting eyes, strong jaws, thick lips, lots of hair and projected ears. Lombroso's early theory was based on a study of an Italian prison. The study was based on prisoners, which contained a large number of mentally disturbed people. This sample was then compared to a small sample of military personnel. Lombroso failed to recognise that correlation does not imply causality. Just because these people all shared similar physical anomalies, does not imply that they were criminals, these physical abnormalities could have been a result of poverty and deprivation of basic needs in life. Lombroso's study was also criticised as the army group he used for his comparison all had violent tendencies anyway and were not a subjected sample of society. In later years, Lombroso's theory has moved from the genetic approach towards the environmental approach. He was contradicting his early theory by suggesting that

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