biological explanations of criminal behaviours - describe

  • Created by: Abi Crew
  • Created on: 03-05-22 12:04
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  • biological explanations for criminal behaviour
    • brain abnormalities and the role of the amygdala
      • the amygdala
        • integral centre in the brain for emotional processing, responses, behaviour and motivation.
        • it is also central in fear conditioning and positive emotional learning through sensory stimulus and messaging through the thalamus and sensory cortexes.
      • yang et al (2009)
        • used MRIs to investigate 27 individuals assessed as psychopaths (who are more likely to engage in criminal behaviour) compared to ‘normal’ controls using matched pair design
        • found that the amygdala of the psychopaths showed an 18% reduction in size and a much thinner cortex.
      • This, along with the fact that damage to the amygdala has been linked to issues with fear conditioning and impulse control in childhood, shows a direct correlation between brain abnormalities and criminality.
    • inherited criminality
      • asserts that criminal behaviour is rooted in genetics and our evolutionary past
        • Some behaviours today that we consider ‘criminal’ might have provided survival advantages in previous eras, and thus still exist in our human tendencies today
        • For example, some male criminal behaviour such as assault and **** may have evolved because of historical male competition for access to females.
      • MAOA
        • the main enzyme gene linked to criminality
        • involved in regulating serotonin and dopamine levels.
          • Unregulated serotonin, for example, vastly increases impulsive activity in criminals
        • The variant MAOA-L is associated with a deficiency of the enzyme, which can increase aggression according to Sohrabi (2015)


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