Biological Theories Of Crime Causation
The biological theory of crime causation begun in the 1800s and scholars regard Cesare Lombroso as the pioneer researcher in demonstrating a relationship between biological and genetic traits and criminals. Lombroso conducted a study on convicted criminals and used his findings to publish his book titled “Criminal Man” in 1876. Lombroso also developed and refined a method of identifying criminal behavior. In his studies, Lombroso analyzed physical traits of such as brain and skull sizes, physique, shapes of noses and methods of self-expression among criminals through tattoos and graffiti. According to Lombroso, criminals were inferior to non-criminals and were recognizable by physical traits such as cranium asymmetry, sloping foreheads and long arms among others. Lombroso called individuals “atavistic” or throwbacks because they had primitive features.
Biological theories of crime causation in criminology
Researchers and legal practitioners have proposed several theories to understand crime causation, and the theories explaining crime causation are important in preventing crime and prosecution of criminals. Some of the crime causation theories proposed by researchers and legal practitioners include economic theories, psychological theories, political theories, sociological theories, and biological theories among others. The biological theory of crime causation argues on the premise that some individuals have innate mental and biological characteristics that make them likely to commit a crime. Proponents of the biological theory of crime causation argue that the identified characteristics are inheritable and evident at birth. The biological theory of crime, or biological positivism, argues that crime is mainly due to physical and mental degeneracies in criminals and criminals are biologically inferior. The biological theories of crime causation focus on genetic, neurological, bio-chemical, and physiological elements that have influence the behavior of criminals. Through time, scholars have used different arguments to support the biological theory of crime causation, and the earliest scholars to propose the theory include Joseph Gall, Cesare Lombroso, and Johann Spurzheim.
The neurological system is critical in controlling an individual’s behavior and perspectives on antisocial behavior or crime. The brain is the center of any individual’s personality, and studies in the biological theory of crime causation analyze various biological factors such as serotonin activity, specific genes, neurological deficit, and other factors such as malnutrition.