Is Criminal Behaviour Inherited or Learned?

1429 WordsJun 22, 20186 Pages
Criminologists and sociologist have long been in debate for century's to explain criminal behaviour. The two main paradigms of thought are between 'nature' and 'nurture'. Nature is in reference to a learnt behaviour where a multitude of characteristics, in society influence whether a person becomes deviant such as poverty, physical abuse or neglect. Nurture defines biological features which could inevitability lead to a individuals deviant or criminal behaviour, because criminality is believed by biological positivist to be inherited from a persons parents. However, I believe that criminal behaviour is a mixture of characteristics that lead to deviant acts such as psychological illness & Environmental factors. Therefore, this essay…show more content…
20). This illustrates that not only is persons' genetics contributing to criminal behaviour 'but' also the environment in which the they are socialised can initiate deviancy. In Comparison one other biological idea that has been used by criminologist to prove that criminality is inherited rather than learnt is the human genetic code. The human DNA is made up of 46 chromosomes in 23 pairs, men have XY ad women XX (Newburn, 2013). It is widely believed that chromosomes can sometimes have a negative affect on people with anomalies within their genetics, men with a extra Y chromosome are believed to have the tendency to become involved in criminal activity. For example, Price et al (1966) research on male offenders on individuals with anomalies in their DNA found that they were “responsible for some serious, crimes a picture developed of hyper masculine offender . . . . who was especially aggressive and some what lacking in intelligence” (Newburn, 2013: 137). However, Hirschi and Gotfredson found the research on genetic anomalies to be ineffective in explaining all the reasons why some people commit crime due to the fact that the extra chromosome is not found in everyone who commits a crime therefore this theory fails to prove that people are born with criminal characteristics. On the other hand, theorists have taken a different stand point to explain criminal and delinquent behaviour. Firstly, Edwin Sunderlands (1939) theory of differential
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