Describe and Critically Evaluate Any Biological Theory of Violence/Homicide

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DESCRIBE AND CRITICALLY EVALUATE ANY BIOLOGICAL THEORY OF VIOLENCE/HOMICIDE One of the main problems faced by criminologists is explaining why certain individuals commit crime and especially violent crime. Biological theories focus on the individual offender, positing an inherent predisposition towards criminality. Theories based on individual positivism fell out of favour in the early 20th century but have seen something of a resurgence in recent years due to the advances in genetics and this essay will explore whether there is a genetic contribution to crime through looking at twin studies. Twin studies involve the comparison of criminality among monozygotic (MZ) or identical twins and dizygotic (DZ) or non identical twins (Brookman, 2005). ‘Whereas MZ twins are identical in hereditary endowment, DZ twins are no more alike genetically than common siblings’ (Dolgard and Kringlen, 1976, p.213). The rationale is that if each member of a twin pair has a roughly identical environment, any difference in the average similarity of MZ or DZ twins must be due to genetic influence. Specifically, if there is a genetic contribution to the characteristic being studied (criminal activity), MZ would be expected to be more similar than DZ twins. The conventional way of expressing the degree of similarity between twin pairs is by using concordance rates. Dolgard and Kringlen (1976) cite Lange (1929) who studied 30 pairs of male twins and observed that 10 of 13 MZ were concordant, whereas only 2 of 17 DZ displayed concordance. Lange (1929) concluded his study by claiming that hereditary had a major role in crime. A number of the early twin studies claimed results that looked impressive and supported the genetic hypothesis (Doherty, 2005). Conversely Dalgard and Kringlen (1976) studied 138 pairs of male twins and found the data did show a higher concordance rate in
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