Nicoletta and Catriona CAN GENETIC TENDENCIES BE INHERITED?
Introduction <ul><li>Many people would argue that criminal offend because of inherited traits or genes. This was a particularly popular viewpoint in the past, however many studies in recent years have shown that we cannot blame criminal activity purely on genetics. </li></ul>
Lombroso <ul><li>One criminologist Cesare Lombroso (1876) reached the conclusion that criminals are of a different genetic make up form non criminals. He suggested certain physical characteristics such as heavy jaws, projecting ears or being left handed were indications that a person was or would become a criminal. His studies were since proven false as he did not use a control in his observations, however at the time society found it convenient to believe his theory. </li></ul>
XYY <ul><li>More of the more well known explanations of inherited criminal behaviour is the ‘super male syndrome’ or the XYY chromosome defect. The addition of the extra Y chromosome ion males make can make them more likely to be aggressive and violent. This also can contribute to other disabilities such as ADHD and behavioural problems as a child. This can lead to lack of concentration and a grown frustration in a child which can reduce their chances of doing well in school, increasing the likelihood of becoming involved in criminal behaviour. A study by Morely and Hall (2003) showed that children with Antisocial-personality disorder (ASPD) where an individual shows a persistent disregard for the rights of others, increasing the chance of criminal behaviour by 70%. </li></ul>
Adoption Studies <ul><li>Many scientists have used adoption studies to try to prove or disprove the link between geneology and crime. One recent study (Bohman, 1995) came to the conclusion that although genetics had an effect, the interaction between genes and environment was “vitally” important. He found that id both the biological and adoptive parents had criminal records the child had a 40% chance of going on to have one. However the worth of adoption studies is often disputed as many children end up in similar environments from the ones they would have originally been brought up in. It must also be taken into account that not all children are adopted at birth and therefore experiences may already have influenced them. </li></ul>
Twin Studies <ul><li>Another way criminologists study the effect of genealogy on criminal behaviour is thought twin studies. Scientist are eager to discover whether or not identical and non-identical twins share more similar criminal records and thus prove the link between genetics and crime. Christiansen (1977) found that the concordance rate between identical twins was 60 (out of 100) and between non-identical twins, only 30. However there are a number of things which may influence these results such as parents treating identical twins more similarly, identical twins are more likely to develop closer relationships with each other and the fact that non-identical twins could be boy and girl which has a strong influence on criminal records. </li></ul>