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Posted: January 31st, 2023

Biosocial Theories of Criminal Causation

Discuss the major principles of the biosocial theories of criminal causation. Then explain the Human Genome Project (HGP). Finally, discuss criticisms that have been waged against the biosocial theories of criminal causation.
Biosocial Theories of Criminal Causation

The Fundamental Concepts of Biosocial Theories of Criminal Causation
Researchers have long sought to identify the biological factors that contribute to violence and crime. According to biosocial criminology, environmental and biological factors have a close relationship with criminal behavior. Biosocial theories of criminal causation, according to Eichelberger and Barnes (2015), are general research paradigms that analyze all factors related to the causation of antisocial behavior, ranging from genetic influences to biological influences such as hormone levels. Furthermore, neurological factors such as poverty exposure and socialization are taken into account when it comes to environmental impacts. As a result, biosocial criminology proposes that criminal behavior is the result of multiple factors, including not only social and environmental factors, but also biological factors. According to Eichelberger and Barnes (2015), the interaction of social and biological factors creates the ideal environment for a person to develop or exhibit criminal behavior. For example, a person who had birth complications and then grew up in a disruptive homestead is more likely to develop criminal tendencies. This discussion recognizes genetics, early health risks, hormones, neuropsychology, and psycho-physiology as essential principles of biosocial theories of criminal causation, and they will be discussed further below.
Early Health Dangers
There is substantial evidence that early health risks are closely related to biosocial criminology. Alcohol or nicotine exposure, minor birth defects, or birth complications, for example, can all contribute to the development of criminal behaviors, especially when combined with other environmental factors (Coyne & Wright, 2015). A child exposed to nicotine during pregnancy, for example, is more likely to develop criminal behaviors as an adult, especially if raised in a stressful environment.
According to some studies, aggression can be passed down from generation to generation. According to Farmer (2004), long-term aggressive behavior is likely to be passed down to the next generation, and maltreated children are expected to exhibit different behaviors throughout their lives based on their genotypes. Farmer (2004), on the other hand, notes that a person’s genotype cannot be used alone to predict a person’s behavior; other factors, such as environmental surroundings, must be considered.
Deficiencies in Nutrition
Minimum levels of minerals and vitamins, according to biocriminologists, are required to improve healthy brain function. Furthermore, medical research indicates that proper nutrition is an important part of early childhood development and can lead to severe mental and behavioral challenges. Coyne and Wright (2015) demonstrate that improved diet quality reduces delinquency while dramatically improving mental health and academic performance in adolescents. According to some studies, a lack of vitamins B3, B6, and C is linked to the development of antisocial behaviors, whereas diets high in carbohydrates and sugars are linked to violence and aggression (Coyne & Wright, 2015). These findings show that nutritional deficiency is an important principle in biosocial theories of crime causation.
Allergies develop as a result of the body reacting to foreign substances with cerebral allergies, resulting in brain reactions. Allergies to the Neuro system tend to affect the nervous system as well, and they are linked to emotional, mental, and behavioral issues (Eichelberger & Barnes, 2015). Although allergies do not directly cause violence, Eichelberger and Barnes (2015) argue that individuals suffering from stress as a result of painful allergic reactions are more likely to act violently, particularly when exposed to negative stimuli.
Contaminants in the Environment
Sociobiologists are linking the development of antisocial behaviorism and aggression to toxic contaminants such as mercury, copper, food dyes, and chlorine, among others. For example, a recent study (Naicker, Jager, Naidoo, & Mathee, 2018) discovered that communities exposed to lead had higher rates of homicide and other aggressive behaviors. Furthermore, lead poisoning has been shown to be a significant predictor of lower I.Q. scores, persistent adult criminality, and male delinquency (Naicker, Jager, Naidoo, & Mathee, 2018). As a result, sociobiological researchers believe that there is a strong link between juvenile criminality and exposure to various environmental contaminants.
Neurophysiological Disorders
Some biological researchers have discovered that some physical and neurological abnormalities acquired in the early stages of life have the potential to influence an individual’s behavior throughout their lifetime. The primary focus of these studies has been on how this factor impairs essential brain functions, resulting in poor motor and problem-solving skills, which are factors that are likely to increase the likelihood of violent behavior and criminality developing (Coyne & Wright, 2015). As a result, Neurophysiological Conditions continue to be important factors in creating or displaying criminal behavior.
Project Human Genome (HGP)
The Human Genome Project refers to international research efforts to determine the sequence of the human genome and identify the genes contained within it. The US Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health collaborated on this project. At the same time, international partners from the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and some Asian countries, as well as universities from across the United States, contributed (Richards & Hawley, 2005). Through this collaborative effort, the project began in 1990 and was completed in 2003, two years ahead of schedule (Richards & Hawley, 2005). Researchers now understand the blueprint for creating an individual thanks to their work on the Human Genome Project. The knowledge gained from researchers actively acquiring more information about the various gene and protein functions will have a significant impact on the biotechnology and medical fields.
Criticisms of Biosocial Theories of Criminal Causation
Among the many criticisms leveled against biosocial theorists is that their research is frequently confronted with numerous methodological challenges. To put it another way, many biosocial studies are based on unrepresentative samples that do not adequately control for the impact of social variables. Furthermore, biosocial theories have been chastised for failing to explain temporal and regional differences in violent crime rates. For example, these studies cannot explain why one region has higher crime rates than another, and biosocial theories cannot account for changes in violent behavior over time (Eichelberger & Barnes, 2015). For example, a given region may experience a spike in violent crimes over a specific time period before suddenly declining. Unfortunately, sociobiological theories cannot be able to explain such developments on their own.
Certain biosocial criminologists are also accused of class and racial bias in their studies. For instance, if biology can explain violent crime and the racial minorities and poor people commit numerous violent acts of crime, it implies that these people are genetically flawed or inferior (Coyne & Wright, 2015). As such, the critics suggest that such research could be more productive and accurate if it mainly focused on social factors like racism, economic strain, and oppression, among others that lead to class and racial difference in behaviors instead of spending a lot of time trying to understand the genetic makeup of criminality (Coyne & Wright, 2015).

Coyne, M. A., & Wright, J. P. (2015). Biosocial Approaches: Crime. International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 670–675. DOI: 10.1016/b978-0-08-097086-8.45086-5
Eichelberger, R., & Barnes, J. C. (2015). Biosocial Criminology. The Encyclopedia of Crime & Punishment, 1–8. DOI: 10.1002/9781118519639.wbecp185
Farmer, A. (2004). Bad Luck and Bad Genes in Depression. Behavior Genetics Principles: Perspectives in Development, Personality, and Psychopathology., 107–121. DOI: 10.1037/10684-007
Naicker, N., Jager, P. D., Naidoo, S., & Mathee, A. (2018). Is There a Relationship between Lead Exposure and Aggressive Behavior in Shooters? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(7), 1427. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph15071427
Richards, J. E., & Hawley, R. S. (2005). The Human Genome Project. The Human Genome, 279–286. DOI: 10.1016/b978-012333462-6/50033-5

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