Genetic Explanation of Offender Behaviour. (Background/context. (Genes…
Genetic Explanation of Offender Behaviour.
Genes are responsible for the people we become, in terms of out biological make-up or aspects of our personality.
Forensic psychologists often debate whether there is a genetic basis to offending behavior or whether offending behaviour is the result of environmental factors such as culture and social environments.
Research conducted surrounding this topic found that Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) is a common trait amongst 40-70% of prison populations, in comparison to 1-3% in the general population.
Two genes are responsible for criminal behaviour.
is associated with dopamine levels
is associated with neural chemistry.
A study of Finnish prisoners found that out of 794 prisoners, 568 of them were categorised as being pitive for ASPD meaning that
of prisoners involved in the study had the disorder.
The study also found that CDH13 and MAOA were associated with criminal behaviour
examined over 3,500 twin pairs in Denmark and identifies concordance rates of criminal behaviour.
Twin studies are well known method for identifying a genetic basis of behaviour.
35% of Monozygotic twins displayed criminal behaviour
13% of Dizygotic twins displayed criminal behaviour
21% of monozygotic twins displayed criminal behaviour
8% of dyzygotic twins displayed criminal behaviour.
The findings demonstrate that there is a level o inheritance, but due to low percentages of monozygotic twins it is evident that Environmental Factors play a key role in the development and displaying of criminal behaviour in both Men and Women
Brunner et al
conducted an analysis of a large family in the Netherlands. The famil members were responsible for Antisocial and criminal behaviour such as Rape, Exhibitionism, and Arson
The : research found that
Malles had a genetic condition
which became later known as
results in lower intelligence levels and causes a deficiency in MAOA which is responsible for the metabolism of serotonin.
The study concluded tht individuals inherit Genetic Conditions which mate the person prone to offending behaviour.
Adoption studies attempt to separate environmental and genetic factors by looking at children who have been adopted and have therefore been raised by adopted parents where there is no genetic similarity.
compared a group of adopted children whose Biological mother had a criminal record to a controlled group of children adopted whose biological mother doesn't have a crimina record.
The group of children whose mother had a criminal record siplayed 50% of them having a criminal record by the age of 18
The group of children whose mother didn't have a criminal record displays only 5% of them having a criminal record by the age of 18
This study, therefore, suggests that regardless of the changed environment, children seemed biologically predisposed to criminality.
Diathesis stress model
are able to be switched on and off
due to epigenomes
(chemicals impacting genetics) which have been affected by
such as Maltreatment in childhood.
Caspi et al
conducted a study on
. The participants were
assessed at 26 years
old for antisocial behavior and found that
12% of low MAOA genes were Maltreated in their childhood
and were responsible for 44& of Violent crimes.
Twin and Family studies are seen as problematic since they don't rule out the impact o the environment. The results could be due t social learning since the twin sets and families concerned are all occupying the same environment
Biological determinism presents problems for out legal system since it negates free will and raises the ethical questions surrounding what society does with people why carry criminal ages.
Adoption studies enable psychologists to rule out the effects of the environment since the adoptees are being raised in a different environment fro the biological parent concerned
Genetic explanations have strong support for the nature side of nature VS nurture debate
Genetic explanations support the nature argument but ignore the influence of external factors such as parenting, culture and social learning, misses crucial elements of explaining offending behaviour it can therefore be considered reductonist.