Presentation on theme: "Biological Theories of Crime"— Presentation transcript:
1 Biological Theories of Crime Main assumptionsLombrosoSheldonXYY Male
2 IntroductionWe often judge others by how they look even though we know that “appearances are deceiving”Research on impact of “physical appearance”
3 Criminal “Type”Most defense attorneys coach their clients on how they should dress and groom themselves for court so jurors will get the impression they are not the “type” of person who would commit a crime
4 Character and physical appearance We frequently make inferences about another person’s character based on his/her appearanceAncient Greeks and Romans believed in “physiognomy” (physical features can reveal a person’s natural disposition)“Do not trust beardless men and bearded women”
5 Physiognomy as Practiced in Europe A choleric person has a "hot" temperament, is irritable and easily roused to anger A melancolic person is pensive and tends to feel sad A phlegmatic person is not easily aroused to excitement and lacks emotion expression A sanguine person is confident and optimistic
6 Biological TheoriesBiological theories tended towards seeing crime as a form of illness, caused by pathological factors specific to certain classes of individuals“bad” behaviour vs “sick” behaviourHow can we blame someone for being sick?
7 LeprosyHas left behind a terrifying image in history and human memory - mutilation, rejection and exclusion from societyThe idea that ugly is evil
8 Leprosy Leprosy is not highly infectious It is transmitted via droplets, from the nose and mouth, during close and frequent contacts with untreated casesIn 9 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America leprosy is still considered a public health problemThese countries account for about 75% of the global disease burden
9 Criminal behavior and pathology Pathology, in this respect, relates to the idea that the criminal cannot help but commit crimeIn this respect, the cause of law-breaking might, for example, be found in a chemical imbalance in the brain
10 Biological TheoryThe individual is not responsible for his/her actionsCognitive Ability and Biology
11 Biological TheoriesThe criminal is radically different from the non-criminalWe can assume that some people are "born criminals“Punishment is inapplicable
12 Biological theoriesCrime has been redefined as “sick” rather than “bad” behavior“Medicalization” of behavior (hyperactive children are given medicine)Search for individuals traits rather than social factors
13 The Underlying Logic Atavism Inability to Mental and Learn and Follow legalrulesMental andPhysicalInferiorityCriminalBehaviorDefectivegenes
14 Lombroso’s TheoryBodily constitution causes “born criminal” to violate the laws“born criminal” is an “atavism” (throwback to an earlier stage of human evolution)Physical makeup, mental capabilities, and instincts of primitive man
15 Lombroso’s TheoryObserved the physical characteristics of Italian prisoners and compared them to Italian soldiersConcluded that criminals were physically differentLombroso presented a long list of physical characteristics used to identify criminals
17 Cesare Lombroso ( )Asymmetry of the face or head, large monkey-like ears, large lips, twisted nose, excessive cheek bones, long arms, excessive skin wrinklesThe male with five or more of these physical anomalies is marked as a born criminalFemale criminals are also born criminals, but they may be identified with as few as three anomalies
18 Tattoos Were significant to Lombroso Most of the “born criminals” had themObscene nature of their depictions and messagesTattoos stood as evidence of both insensitive to physical pain and immorality
19 Criminal WomenOfficial records, according to which women had a far lower crime rate than men, is misleadingWomen are less evolved: naturally vengeful and jealous, their moral sensibilities are deficient, less sensitive to pain than men
20 The Female Offender (1897) Co-authored with William Ferrero Natural selection is the reason for existence of a greater number of male than female born criminalsMen are less likely to breed with physically deformed women
21 The Female Offender (1897)Women have less chances to transmit their genesDegenerative traits in women would be less likely than such traits in men to survive over time
22 Lombroso Born criminal is unsuited for society Inevitably violate social and legal rulesTheories of genetic superiority call for policy in which whole peoples are to be eliminated from the genetic stock of the world in order to prevent crimeTheories of individual genetic inferiority call for castration of those said to be habitual criminals in order to prevent their producing more defective children who, presumably will be criminals
23 Frontispiece of Criminal Man Lombroso claimed that to the trained eye, the eye of the detective, these people would clearly be organized into categoriesThose in group "A" are all shoplifters, "B" are swindlers, "H" are purse snatchers, "E" are murderers, etc.And supposedly you can see a man's real character at a glance.
24 The New Sciences of Detection By the 1880s, urban police forces began developing new techniques for keeping track of criminals, especially new techniques of record-keepingMost of these techniques were heavily influenced by criminology
25 Mug ShotsThe mug shot originated in the 1880s, in studies designed to explore the relationship between appearance and criminal behaviorThese men are all forgers. The New York Police Department compiled this record in part to see if all forgers looked alike, or all murderers looked alike, or if all burglars had the same facial features
26 Critique of LombrosoTheory overlooks the bright and handsome criminalsTheory ignores those who are ugly and live lives of productive and cooperative laborTheory does not look at the variations over time in crime rates. Since genes change very slowly, there should be a steady rate of crime over the centuries. That is not the case. Crime rates vary dramatically.
27 Critique of LombrosoHe was studying the very poor - people whose physical development had been affected by poverty, poor nutritionNot everyone who breaks the law ends up in prisonThis type of theorising neglects the idea that there is a "grey area" of criminality - people who commit crimes but who are not caught and, therefore, not imprisoned.
28 Charles Goring (1913)Junior medical officer in the English prison serviceTested the concept of “born criminal”He used statistical analysis to determine the presence of 37 Lombrosian characteristics in the criminal population (2,348 convicts)Compared criminals with “non-criminal public” (undergraduate students, soldiers, inmates of two separate hospitals)Findings: no evidence of a physical type criminal
29 Body TypesCriminality is explained by reference to the offenders’ body typesGenetics, or external observable physical characteristics
32 Research Study-200 boys, Hayden Goodwill Institute 7-point somotyping scale, 650 psychological attributesDisproportionately mesomorphic--more prone to delinquency.Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck (1950's): 800 delinquents/matched sample of non-delinquents==> delinquents more likely to be mesomorphs.
33 Questions/ProblemsMaybe need a tough body to gain acceptance/survive on the streets.Body type and social meaning--the boys were already judged to be delinquent.
34 Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (brain dysfunction) Lack of attention, impulsivity, hyperactivityBlue, green - areas of low metabolism3% of children (boys)Poor school performancePoor disciplineStimulants like RitalinControl emotional outburst
35 Symptoms of Attention Deficit Frequently fails to finish projectsDoes not seem to pay attentionDoes not sustain interest in play activitiesIs easily distractedFrequently acts without thinkingDoes not want to wait his/her turn in lines or gamesShifts from activity to activityCannot organize tasks or work
36 XYY: The super-maleThe extra Y chromosome creates a strong compulsion that the XYY carrier is at extreme risk of committing violent crimesThe findings of some studies that the proportion of XYY males is prison population (from 1 to 3 %) is higher than in general male population (less than 1%) is accepted as evidence of the theory
37 The XYY “Super-male”Patricia Jacobs (1965) examined 198 Scottish prisoners for chromosomal abnormalities (blood test known “karyotyping”)12 members of the group displayed XYY (only 3.5% of prison population)1976 Danish study of 4,000 men found that the incidence of XYY men was less than 1% in the general male population
38 The XYY “Super-male”Crimes for which XYY men were convicted were not violent onesMore XY men were convicted for violent offenses
39 200 studies on XYY malesSuper-males are taller than average male, often standing more than 6’1’’Suffer from acne or skin disorderHave less than average intelligenceCome from families with a lower than average history of crime or mental illness
40 Mental deficiencyNext to physical deformity, mental deficiency has been the second most popular explanation of crime"Intelligence" generally consists of different abilities, such as the ability to reason, solve problems, think abstractly, learn and understand new material, adapt to novel situations quickly, grasp complex relationships, and profit from past experienceIn other words, intelligence is "catching on," "making sense" of things, or "figuring out" what to do.
41 IQMost people cluster around the average (IQ 100), with about 3% of Americans regularly scoring above IQ 130 (the threshold for "gifted"), and about 3% regularly scoring below IQ 70 (the threshold for "retarded")People at the lowest two levels, profoundly and severely retarded, have to be institutionalizedThe moderately or mildly retarded can stay with family or friends, although the amount of care required would be burdensomeSlow learners are a large, diverse group. People in the low range (71-80) of this group have been variously called "idiots", "morons", "stooges", or "sixth-graders“People in the high range (81-90) have usually been called "challenged" or "disabled“
42 THE RACIAL BIAS CONTROVERSY African Americans (as well as some other minority groups), on average, score about 15 points below those of European ancestry on intelligence testsMany studies have consistently found that the average IQ of an African American is 85 while the average IQ of a white American is 100, and that one in five African Americans have an average IQ of 75 (Seligman 1992).Another way that this is often reported is to say that a 17-year old African American performs at the reading, math, and science level of a 13-year old white.
43 Explanations for IQ scores Many critics to question whether IQ really measures intelligence or some sort of "test-taking" skillIQ test questions are "culturally biased“
44 Schooling can affect intelligence Attendance is the primary variable here, and regardless of debates over the quality of schooling, research has consistently shown that students who skip school on a relatively frequent or intermittent basis suffer from lower IQWhen parents move a child to a better school, there may be a small, measurable increase in IQ, but it is just as likely that there will be no change in IQ
45 Family Factor Research Motivating children toward intelligence via encouragement, coaching, and modelingStudies have consistently shown that smaller families (with less children) tend to produce higher-IQ childrenAlso, first-born children are usually the smartest, with IQ decreasing as one moves down the birth orderPrenatal care for expectant mothers is very important, and there is a condition known as fetal alcohol syndrome (low IQ and behavioral problems) which happens if the mother drinks large amounts of alcoholProlonged malnutrition during infancy also produces low IQ