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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 91458 Find in a Library
Title: Personality, Environment, and Criminal Behavior - An Evolutionary Perspective (From Personality Theory, Moral Developments and Criminal Behavior, P 217-241, 1983, William S Laufer and James M Day, ed. - See NCJ-91449)
Author(s): D T Kenrick; A Dantchik; S MacFarlane
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 25
Sponsoring Agency: Lexington Books
New York, NY 10022
Sale Source: Lexington Books
866 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10022
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In suggesting how certain individual differences that were functional to our ancestors can predispose persons toward exploitive strategies, this paper suggests particular ecological factors that can be expected to increase criminal behavior.
Abstract: The basic premise of sociobiological theorizing is an assumption that social behaviors evolve in much the same way as physical features. Those patterns that are relatively more functional in meeting the demands of the environment will result in better chances for survival of their possessor and his/her offspring. Examples of the genetic transmission of functional social arrangements can be seen in the social insects such as ants and bees who have evolved complex patterns of social stratification, cooperation, and communication. In the case of human evolution, the following social characteristics are likely to have been predisposed through natural selection: (1) strong dominance hierarchies, (2) antisocial behavior toward those outside of one's own survival network, and (3) sexual division of labor such that (1) and (2) will be more characteristic of males. These conclusions are based on a review of recent theories based largely on data from naturalistic studies of group-living primates. Whatever tendencies to exploit others in a criminal manner may exist in the human species as a whole or in certain subgroups, they are not enacted continuously or randomly but in response to particular environmental circumstances. Density of population and resource scarcity have been found to increase the use of exploitive strategies across numerous species. Large-scale cultural intervention programs are required to prevent exploitive criminal behavior. Of primary importance are measures that alleviate resource scarcity and counter population increases. One hundred references are provided.
Index Term(s): Environmental influences; Genetic influences on behavior
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