Monday, February 27, 2017




Volume 49, March–April 2017, Pages 22–31

It's nature and nurture: Integrating biology and genetics into the social learning theory of criminal behavior



Highlights

Major advances in genetics and biology show that many human behaviors are impacted by factors other than social influences.
Criminology has not incorporated these genetic and biological influences into any mainstream criminological theories.
This article proposes unifying nature and nurture by integrating biological factors and social learning into a single theory.

Abstract

Purpose

Major advances in the fields of biology, genetics, neuroscience, and psychiatry have shown that many human behaviors are impacted by factors other than social influences. Still, the field of criminology has not incorporated these biological influences into any mainstream criminological theories, leaving a large divide between theories holding entirely sociological and entirely biological explanations of criminal behavior.

Method

Two exceptions to this strict “nature versus nurture” dichotomy are social learning theory, which posits that criminal behavior is learned through peer association, and the biosocial perspective in criminology, which uses various biological and social factors to explain the commission of criminal behavior. Given the growing evidence that both biology and environmental factors contribute to the commission of criminal behavior, it is increasingly difficult for any theory to ignore the influence of either biology or sociology altogether.

Conclusion

This article illustrates how to incorporate both nature and nurture into a single theory, by integrating social learning theory and the biosocial perspective into a more accurate and modern model of criminal behavior.

Keywords

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