Chat with us, powered by LiveChat This week's reading provides overview of the research on biological and psychological perspectives, as well as discusses strain and culture deviance theories. After reviewing | Wridemy

This week’s reading provides overview of the research on biological and psychological perspectives, as well as discusses strain and culture deviance theories. After reviewing

Please use attached files for assignment 

This week's reading provides overview of the research on biological and psychological perspectives, as well as discusses strain and culture deviance theories. After reviewing the reading for week 2, as well as the week 2 discussion articles in the lesson for this week:

  1. Discuss/debate with your classmates your position pertaining to biological and psychological perspectives of explaining crime.
  2. Examine at least one theory from the assigned reading that explain crime and articulate why you either strongly agree or disagree with it.

The Nature-based Factors.html

The Nature-based Factors

The nature-based factors related to the life-course theory are categorized into five concepts: (a) cohorts, (b) transitions, (c) trajectories, (d) life events, and (e) turning points.


In brief, cohorts could be described as one’s support group, those who are around you, the group to which one belongs not only in terms of family, but also generation. Transitions are defined as changes in one’s course or plan concerning their role in society, like going from being the eldest child to needing to accept the role of a surrogate parent. The trajectory is the ongoing pattern over an extended period in which there has been stability as well as change and includes the various transitions that occur in life. As has already been described, a life event is a far-reaching or impactful occurrence or interruption to the flow of one’s life. Lastly, the turning point is exactly as the name implies, that moment when one’s life is significantly changed either for good or bad. Turning points can be moving a significant distance, witnessing or being strongly affected by a tragedy, or even winning the lottery! In other words, a turning point is a life-altering occurrence. The “bottom line” concerning life-course theory is how one reacts and responds to life is represented by the choices made. In other words, those who face multiple risks or a major risk in life, such as poverty and neglect, may be influenced to make choices leading to a pattern and life of crime, whereas those who have limited or little risks in their lives are believed to not be as likely to make choices that would lead to crime.


In closing this discussion of life-course theory, one last comment regarding the concept of the cohort. While the cohort is a nature-based or environmental factor, it also involves aspects of nurturing in that those who have a strong and immediate cohort available in terms of support during transitions, as well as life events, the role modeling of this support, serves as a type of nurturing.


Nature versus Nurture.html

Nature Versus Nurture

Typically, scholarly reading indicates theories in support of nature as well as nurture with findings that also contradict the findings. In this lesson, two additional theories will be discussed that are based on the more current access that criminal behavior is likely a combination of nature and nurture. The first theory, life-course theory, is based on nature, but nurture does seem to play an unacknowledged role. Somewhat differently, evolutionary neuroandrogenic (ENA) theory is predominately based on nature with nurture referred to as playing a supportive type role.

Nonetheless, let us briefly look at the Psychopathology and Biogenics of Serial Murderers.

According to Ellis (2003), the inheritance school of thought is discounted by most researchers today because it is impossible to determine if criminal behavior is a product of inherited or acquired traits. The notion of born criminals provided the impetus for the eugenics movement of the early 1930s. Based on the belief that many criminal traits and mental illnesses were inherited, 27 states allowed the forced sterilization of the “feeble-minded,” chronic offenders, and the insane. However, the work of Lombroso and those supporting “body-build theories” have yet to be proven as valuable in understanding criminal behavior.    

Modern research now supports a variety of biochemical factors involved in criminal behavior, such as allergies, environmental conditions, and diet. The movement toward biological definitions for explaining violent behavior carries with it political, religious, and economic ramifications.

Hickey (2016) explained that the term "psychopath" is a non-diagnostic label used to describe a potpourri of individuals determined by societal standards to possess characteristics at variance with general community standards and practices. Although most serial killers are psychopaths or at least exhibit psychopathic characteristics, most criminal psychopaths are non-violent persons. Indeed, most criminal psychopaths operate as white-collar criminals.  Dr. Hare refers to them as “sub-clinical psychopaths” who are drawn to positions of power and control and noted that many white-collar criminals are psychopaths. Psychopaths differentiate themselves from sociopaths in that psychopaths tend to display a higher level of skill in their criminal trade. Thus, they tend not to be arrested as often as sociopaths.

According to Hickey (2016), a common trait of psychopaths is their constant need to be in control of their social and physical environment. Emotionally healthy people do not need to control others because they are already in control of themselves. Persons with high PCL -R scores are three to four times more likely to recidivate than persons with low scores. Dr. Hare found that on the 40-point scale where a normal person rates about a 5, the typical male incarcerated offender in North America rates about a 23. Bonafide psychopaths, he believes, are rated at 30 points and higher.  For the serial killer, the term psychopath seems to apply well.

Jacobson 2002, (as cited by Hickey, 2016), in his review of antisocial abusers (men who cannot empathize, use violence as a means of control, and have histories of criminal behavior), demonstrated a different physiological response to conflict than other men in similar circumstances.  Jacobson referred to such men as “vagal reactors” because their heart rates decline during heated arguments that involve emotionally aggressive confrontations. (In the autonomic nervous system of some persons, the vagus nerve, when exposed to excitation, suppresses arousal).  He found that the most seriously belligerent offenders reported the greatest decrease in heart rate. The decrease in heart rate is a result of being in control of another person, common to psychopaths who seek control. Criminal psychopaths, in one experiment, were given anger management and social skills training. They reported an 82% recidivism rate compared to 59% for psychopaths who were not given the treatment.  Psychopaths are not amenable to treatment because they do not believe they need it and if subjected to treatment, will simply add that information to their arsenal of psychological tools they can later use to control others.


Ellis, L. (2003). Biosocial theorizing and criminal justice policy. In A. Somit & S. A. Peterson (Eds.), Human nature and public policy: An evolutionary approach (pp. 97-120). Palgrave MacMillan.

Hickey, E.W. (2016). Seral murders and their victims (7th ed.). Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.


ENA Theory.html

ENA Theory

ENA theory more or less “straddles the fence” in terms of nature and nurture. The basic premise of the theory is that criminal activity is learned from being exposed to and having it modeled by others (nurture); however, ENA theorists also hold that the desire or motivation to commit criminal acts is biological or instinctual. In other words, ENA is founded upon evolutionary (learned/nurture) and neurological (nature) concepts.


The support for the belief that criminal activity is learned or a result of evolution is that rehabilitation is effective with some criminals. However, there are other criminals, like serial killers, who do not respond favorably to rehabilitation or retraining efforts and ergo, ENA theorists maintain that the urge or desire to continue in criminal activity is not learned, but innately infused within the person’s biological make-up and evolution is at the root of this.


The overall basis for ENA’s biological or nature perspective is that mankind has evolved in terms of what females desire in future mates – the mate to be a strong provider. Therefore, the strong male providers have, over multiple generations, continued to evolve into stronger and more competent providers, which in turn has increased the competition to be referred to as the strongest and best. This competition can and has led to criminal behavior, particularly concerning victimization – the learned part of behavior.


The implication of ENA theory is centered upon the issue that the majority of criminals are males. However, the explanation for female criminal behavior is similarly based on the concept of competition for the most successful provider serves as the motivator to commit criminal activities given the biological factors are present as well as the nurturing effect of having criminal behavior modeled. In other words, females who have the biological tendencies to commit a crime and observe other females’ criminal behaviors resulting in attracting strong providers, leads to their commission of crime due to competition just like the males.


Interestingly, ENA theory focuses more on the prevention of criminal behavior. Each of the preventative approaches involves the use of drugs that are designed to modify or alleviate the bio-neurological factors that are believed to cause deviant behavior as well as the inclusion of rehabilitation and retraining of those who have already committed crimes. However, ENA theorists do support the concept of long-term imprisonment of those who have committed serious and or heinous crimes to limit their contributions to the gene pool of society.



References – Copy.html


Adler, F., Mueller, G. O. W., & Laufer, W. S. (2013). Criminology (8th ed.). McGraw-Hill.

Andrews, D. A., & Bonta, J. (2003). The psychology of criminal conduct. Anderson Publishing.

Ellis, L. (2003). Biosocial theorizing and criminal justice policy. In A. Somit & S. A. Peterson (Eds.), Human nature and public policy: An evolutionary approach (pp. 97-120). Palgrave MacMillan.

Hickey, E.W. (2016). Seral murders and their victims (7th ed.). Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Hutchison, E. D. (2011). A life course perspective. In Dimensions of human behavior: The changing life course (4th ed., pp. 1-38). Sage.


Life-Course Theory.html

Life-Course Theory

The life-course theory uses the relationship of time and behavior as the foundation in that the factors of age, relationships, changes, and society all in respect to the passage of time are believed to be potent influences of behavior. This particular theory is inclusive of biological, psychological, and spiritual aspects of the human being in relation to their environment over the span of one’s lifetime.


This theory is multidisciplinary due to the development including elements of sociology, anthropology, historical, demographic characteristics, and psychology. This particular theory began as a result of a review of the findings of multiple longitudinal studies of individuals and families with respect to how historical or life events affected family life, education, and employment.


For example, a researcher today may interview the survivors and those personally affected by a school shooting and then continue to revisit these individuals over a span of 10 years. Initially, not only was their family life interrupted in terms of peace and confidence in the simple act of attending school, but also the educative process was interrupted as well as disrupted. Employment in terms of being able to focus on work may also have been difficult. Over time, some of these areas may have changed, but others may have not. According to life-choice theory, the changes that do occur would be determined on several environmental or nature-based factors.


The nature-based factors would be the existence or lack physical support (which is also referred as nurture related), biological issues such as health, and cultural and spiritual beliefs. Each of these factors invariably is referred as determinants as to whether each individual will learn to overcome such a tragedy and become a strong person or choose to give up and even give in to their anger and become criminal in action. There is an old adage that time can heal all wounds. This appears to be the basis for life-course theory in that time is a factor that will either change one’s life for the better or the worse.




In conclusion, no one knows for sure why certain people seem more prone to commit crimes than others and so the debate between nurture and nature continues. Nonetheless, as you have learned, there are several theories based on scholarly research about biological, psychological, strain, cultural deviance, and other factors that attempt to give some possibilities to consider as to why an individual commits a crime. Although, based on the statistics, most tend to believe it is a mixture of both nature and nurture. That said, it is wise to be familiar with these theories, especially if you are in law enforcement or thinking of entering the law enforcement profession. Furthermore, these theories and others will provide you with an insight as to what may have influenced someone to lead a life of crime or to commit a specific crime. 



Lesson – Copy.html

Explanations of Crime and Criminal Behavior   

You may find it interesting that the arguments as to why a person becomes a criminal are a bit like why some become leaders. At the center of the argument or more aptly called debate regarding leadership is the question of whether leadership is a result of nature or nurture. Those who believe it is nurture say leaders are made, while those who believe it is nature say leaders are born. The same two points are often debated by criminologists about criminals. No one knows for sure why certain people seem more prone than others to commit crimes. However, there are several theories as to why.


Scholarly debate about theories is good, as such discussions often spark further study. This is also likely why there are so many theories and perspectives to consider regarding criminology. Scholarly theories are the “nuts-and-bolts” of criminology and are applied toward gaining a better understanding of the characteristics of those who choose a life of crime. However, remember, a theory is not a fact, but conclusions and thoughts based on observation of occurrences. The most basic definition of a theory is an educated guess – a guess based on facts and observation.


The importance of predicting future criminal behavior has an impact on society. The average citizen seldom, if ever, considers this, nor do they consider the economic costs attached to it. as Andrews and Bonta (2003) pointed out. 


From it stems community safety, prevention, treatment, ethics, and justice.  Predicting who will re-offend guides police officers, judges, prison officials, and parole boards in their decision-making. Knowing that poor parenting practices lead to future delinquency directs community agencies in providing parenting programs to families. Ethically, being able or unable to predict an individual’s future criminal behavior may weigh heavily upon the use of dispositions such as imprisonment and parole (p. 225).




Andrews, D. A., & Bonta, J. (2003). The psychology of criminal conduct. Anderson Publishing.

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