skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 228725 Find in a Library
Title: Born to Kill?: A Critical Evaluation of Homicide Adaptation Theory
Journal: Aggression and Violent Behavior  Volume:14  Issue:5  Dated:September/October 20090  Pages:374-381
Author(s): Russil Durrant
Date Published: October 2009
Page Count: 8
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Netherlands
Annotation: This article presents a critical evaluation of the Homicide Adaptation Theory (HAT), an explanation of why homicide occurs.
Abstract: The central proposition of the HAT is that humans possess psychological adaptations for killing that have evolved because they successfully managed to solve specific, recurrent adaptive problems in the ancestral past. Central to HAT is the idea that under certain, highly delineated contexts, the benefits of killing would have outweighed the costs and hence specific psychological adaptations for killing would have evolved. HAT is proposed to fill an important gap in the literature on the etiology of killing. Given the enormous harm that results from the intentional killing of humans by other humans, the development of etiological theories of homicide is an important task. HAT is an attempt to explain why homicide occurs. This article presents a critical analysis of HAT beginning with a detailed overview of the core features of HAT. This analysis is followed by an evaluation of the key psychological adaptations, a comparison with alternative evolutionary explanations for homicide, and suggestions concerning the future of HAT. References
Main Term(s): Homicide causes
Index Term(s): Homicide; Murder; Theory; Violence; Violence causes; Violence prediction
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.