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However, this one family study does seem to suggest that genetics play an important role in antisocial or criminal behavior. Neurochemicals in Criminal and Anti-social Behavior. Neurochemicals are responsible for the activation of behavioral patterns and tendencies in specific areas of the brain (Elliot, 2000). As seen in the Brunner. Study, there have been attempts to determine the role of neurochemicals in influencing criminal or antisocial behavior. Included in the list of neurochemicals already cited by researchers are monoamine oxidase (moa epinephrine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. Monoamine oxidase (MAO) is an enzyme that has been shown to be related to antisocial behavior. Specifically, low mao activity results in disinhibition which can lead to impulsivity and aggression (Elliot, 2000).

Family studies are the third type of instrument used to assess the relationship between genetics and environmental influences on criminal or antisocial behavior. Research in this field has probably been the least accepted by psychologists and other scholars because of the degree of difficulty in separating out nature and nurture in the family environment. Children experience both the influence of their parents' genes and also the environment in which they are raised, so it is difficult to assign which behaviors were influenced words by the two factors. Twin studies have this flaw, as stated earlier, but it is more prevalent in family studies. An additional concern with family studies is the inability to replicate the results, therefore leading to a small number of studies. Regardless of these drawbacks, one family study in particular should be acknowledged for its findings. Brunner, nelen, Breakefield, ropers, and van Oost (1993) conducted a study utilizing a large dutch family. In their study they found a point mutation in the structural gene for monoamine oxidase a (maoa a neurochemical in the brain, which they associated with aggressive criminal behavior among a number of males in that family (Alper, 1995). These males were reported to have selective maoa deficiency, which can lead to decreased concentrations of 5-hydroxyindole-3-acetic acid (5-hiaa) in cerebrospinal fluid. Evidence suggests that low concentrations of 5-hiaa can be associated with impulsive aggression. These results have not been confirmed in any additional family studies, which lead to a need for more studies to determine if other families share similar results (Brunner., 1993).

single parent essay papers

Single parenting essay - academic, papers, writing Help

The researchers found that as compared to the control group, the adopted individuals, which were born to incarcerated female offenders, had a higher rate of criminal convictions as adults. Therefore this evidence supports the existence of a heritable component to antisocial or criminal behavior (Tehrani mednick, 2000). Another study in Sweden also showed that if a biological background existed for criminality, then there was an increased risk of criminal behavior in the adopted children. In Denmark, one of the largest studies of adopted children was conducted and found similar results to the previous studies. The defining feature of the denmark study was that the researchers found a biological component for criminal acts against property, but pdf not for violent crimes (Joseph, 2001). Children whose biological fathers had been convicted of property crimes were more likely to engage in similar behavior, when compared to those biological fathers who had been convicted of violent crimes. According to an article by jay joseph (2001 who studied all of the minor and major adoption studies, the majority of researchers have found and agreed upon the non-significance of genes in violent crime. This reestablishes the findings from the studies mentioned already in that there may be a genetic component to antisocial behavior or that genes influence criminal behavior, but specifically for property offenses.

single parent essay papers

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This study was of particular importance because it examined the factor of separate environments. Another researcher studied eighty-five mz and one hundred and forty-seven dz pairs and found that there was a higher concordance rate for the mz pairs. Ten years later after checking police records of these same twins, two other researchers concluded that there was a fifty-four percent heritability of liability to crime (Joseph, 2001). Around the same time of the study just mentioned, two researchers studied forty-nine mz and eighty-nine dz pairs, but found no difference in the concordance rates. They concluded therefore that in respect to common crime, hereditary factors writing are of little significance (Joseph, 2001). Many other twin studies have been conducted, but there is concern over the validity of those studies and their ability to separate out the nature and nurture aspects; therefore other sources of information should be examined. Adoption studies are critical in examining the relationship that exists between adopted children and both their biological and adoptive parents because they assume to separate nature and nurture. Studies have been conducted that test for the criminal behavior of the adopted-away children, if their biological parents had also been involved with criminal activity. In Iowa, the first adoption study was conducted that looked at the genetics of criminal behavior.

Some claim that these studies support the notion of a genetic basis to criminal behavior (Tehrani mednick, 2000). On the other hand, some have concluded that there is not enough evidence from these twin, family, and adoption studies to profess that genetics do play a role in antisocial or criminal behavior (Lowenstein, 2003). To understand why there are such conflicting opinions, one must first look at the available studies that have been conducted. Twin studies are conducted on the basis of comparing monozygotic (MZ) or identical twins and their rates of criminal behavior with the rates of criminal behavior of dizygotic (DZ) or fraternal twins. Ordinarily these studies are used to assess the roles of genetic and environmental influences. If the outcomes of these twin studies show that there is a higher concordance rate for mz twins than for dz twins in criminal behavior, then it can be assumed that there is a genetic influence (Tehrani mednick, 2000). A study conducted looked at thirty two mz twins reared apart, who had been adopted by a non-relative a short time after birth. The results showed that for both childhood and adult antisocial behavior, there was a high degree of heritability involved (Joseph, 2001).

Persuasive essay about single parent families - top

single parent essay papers

Single parenting essay - academic, papers writing Aid

Authors Morley and Hall (2003 who have investigated the genetic influences on criminal behavior, point out three different ways to define antisocial behavior. First is equating it with criminality and delinquency, which both involve engaging in criminal acts. Criminality can lead to arrest, conviction, or incarceration for adults, while delinquency is related to juveniles committing unlawful acts (Rhee waldman, 2002). Information can be collected using court and criminal records, as well as self report surveys to analyze the influences that were present. Secondly, they advise individuals to define antisocial behavior dissertation is through criteria used to diagnose certain personality disorders. More specifically, they mean those personality disorders, such as Antisocial Personality disorder, which is associated with an increased risk in criminal activity. A final measure suggested for defining antisocial behavior is by examining personality traits that may be influential in the criminal behavior of individuals.

Traits such as aggressiveness and impulsivity are two traits that have been investigated the most (Morley hall, 2003). Further details of disorders and personality traits associated with criminal behavior will be discussed later in the paper. With regards to determining the effects the environment plays in criminal behavior there are fewer resources available. Observational studies and reports submitted by parents are two sources, but not everyone agrees on the validity of information collected from these sources. Three additional sources that most researchers cite when gathering information about both genetic and environmental influences are twin, family, and adoption studies (Tehrani mednick, 2000). Twin, Adoption, and Family Studies, there has been great debate between researchers regarding the outcomes of twin, adoption, and family studies.

Certain psychological problems have been shown to be heritable and if given the right circumstances, individuals with those genes could find themselves engaging in criminal activity. Therefore, should society look towards limiting the reproductive capabilities of individuals who suffer from certain psychological problems to better society? That same question was asked back in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when the role of genetics in crime was widely accepted (Joseph, 2001). Prominent researchers believed that genes were fully responsible for criminal activity and that criminals could be identified by their physiological features. Along with this information and the idea of a eugenics movement during the same time period, it was not surprising to learn that acts of sterilization took place to rid society of criminals, idiots, imbeciles, and rapists" (Joseph, 2001,. This period was therefore marked with inhumane treatment and the belief that genes were the sole reason behind criminal behavior.


Not long after the practices of controlled breeding, there was evidence to support the idea that the environment also played an important role in crime. Early family studies were conducted that showed a predisposition for criminal behavior as a result of inherited characteristics, but that an individual's characteristics and personality could still be modified by the environment (Joseph, 2001). Although these studies were void of high validity and reliability, it still raised the question of whether the environment can also influence individuals to act in a criminal manner. The debate between genetics and environment continues today with much more reliable research and data. Consequently, this paper will examine the various roles in which both genes and environmental factors influence criminal behavior. Definition and measurement of Criminal Behavior. To fully understand the nature of how genes and the environment influence criminal behavior, one must first know how criminal behavior is defined. Law in our society is defined by social and legal institutions, not in biology (Morley hall, 2003). Therefore determining what constitutes criminal behavior can envelope a wide variety of activities and for that reason, researchers tend to focus on the wider context of antisocial behavior.

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single parent essay papers

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