Theories Surrounding Hereditary Factors Of Crime And Criminal Behavior

988 Words Jul 23rd, 2015 4 Pages
Jerome Crabb once said, “crime is to man as fleas are to dog, the likelihood of its presence increases as the quality of one 's personal circumstances decreases.” Oftentimes we attribute crime to an individual’s socio-economic situation. In more recent years however, theories surrounding hereditary factors in crime have emerged. Nativists believe that criminal predisposition can be passed down from parent to offspring whereas empiricists believe that all crime and criminal behavior is learned through society and environmental factors. A variety of factors ranging from societal influences, behaviorism, and even environmental conditioning help prove the probability of nurture opposed to nature (McLeod, 2007). It is a common fact that a person’s eye color, hair color, and even skin color are passed down from parent to offspring. Nativists argue that because of this, it is quite possible that certain behavioral and personality related traits may be inherited as well (Sigel & Welsh, 2013). Besides behavioral traits and possible predisposition to certain personality related traits, nativist theory also touches on psychoanalysis and cognitive psychology. The psychoanalytic portion focuses on a factors such as aggression and sex drive. It is argued that a child who is born to a parent with aggression or anger issues may be more likely to display these problematic traits upon further development into adulthood (McLeod, 2007). Similarly, it is believed that offspring…

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