Describe the biological explanation of crime. Identify key aspects of crime that are hard to explain in this way.

Essay by spacecowboyuk2002University, Master'sB, August 2002

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The biological explanation of criminal behaviour is a structural account of describing why people commit crimes. Structure-based explanations argue that human actions/ behaviours are driven by forces beyond their control. This can be administered by rules, views/opinions, faith, pressures and, in biological terms, inherited genes.

The claims of the biological explanation have been under development since the early 19th century by amateur scientists and eugenicists. The latter claiming mentally ill, foreigners, criminals, disabled and the economically deprived all obtain genetic imperfections that are irremediable. Their only cure for this would be sterilisation of this category.

Over the recent decades the study in understanding genes and how they work has been deeply explored giving us an insight into the structure known as DNA and how we inherit certain characteristics and biological structures from our parents.

This has led scientists to research how far inherited genes affect our behaviour. An extensive report into identical and non-identical twins came to the conclusion that identical twins share the same genetic make-up and have the same behavioural pattern which is encouraged by shared social environment, that is, treated the same by family, friends, teachers at school, whereas non-identical twins are treated less differently because they do not posses identical features (Christiansen, 77).

Another study was based upon adopted children (Mednick et al, 87). This research was to show if criminal behaviour is linked biologically (biological parents) or to the surrounding environment (adoptive parents). His findings from Denmark proved there is a stronger link between criminal of the adoptive child to his biological parents than the adoptive parents.

In a connected study, Mednick discovered a biological operator linked with anti-social/criminal behaviour. The inherited autonomic nervous system (ANS) connects the brain to internal organs, senses, skin and muscles. Criminals and repetitive offender's ANS is less...