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NCJ Number: 114257 Find in a Library
Title: Are Criminals Made or Born? (From Criminal Justice 88/89, P 17-20, 1988, John J Sullivan and Joseph L Victor, eds. -- See NCJ-114256)
Author(s): R J Herrnstein; J Q Wilson
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 4
Sponsoring Agency: Dushkin/McGraw Hill Publishing Group, Inc
Guilford, CT 06437
Sale Source: Dushkin/McGraw Hill Publishing Group, Inc
Sluice Dock
Guilford, CT 06437
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Research data are increasingly supporting the view that the causes of crime lie in a combination of predisposing biological traits channeled by social circumstances into criminal behavior.
Abstract: These traits alone do not inevitably lead to crime, however. Similarly, the circumstances do not make criminals of everyone. However, together they create a population responsible for a large fraction of the problem of crime in the streets in the United States. Statistics show that crime everywhere and throughout history is disproportionately a young man's pursuit. Research on sex differences in aggression also show that its foundation is at least partly biological. Human aggression has also been directly tied to sex hormones, showing why adolescence and young adulthood is a time of risk for criminal and other nonconventional behavior. Studies of twins and adopted children have also showed the biological element in criminality. In addition, lower intelligence has also been correlated with criminality. Moreover, for some repeat offenders, the predisposition to criminality may be more a matter of temperament than intelligence. Premature infants or those born with low birth weights also appear to be vulnerable to any adverse circumstances in their environment, including child abuse, that may foster crime. The negative political and ideological reactions to the idea that biology plays a role in explaining human behavior should not result in neglect of these findings relevance to crime prevention, however. Research recommendations.
Main Term(s): Nonbehavioral correlates of crime
Index Term(s): Aggression; Biological influences; Crime causes theory; Problem behavior
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