Criminal Behaviour Chapter I Introduction Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

" These authors purport that although mood and behaviour may constitute a vital part in disorderly outcomes of drinking scenarios, other social factors can equally contribute influences. These factors, according to these authors, can be categorized by the following factors:

the attitude and motivations that young binge drinkers bring to drinking, the social and peer group norms under which they operate, and features relating to the drinking environment.

Reasonable Investigations

In the journal article, Misinformation, Misrepresentation, and Misuse of Human Behavioral Genetics Research, Kaplan (2006) notes: "Researchers interested in understanding either the causes of variation in human behaviors or how human behaviors develop are at a disadvantage compared to researchers interested in answering similar questions associated with nonhuman organisms."

Reasons include:

Ethical restrictions on human experimentation make a number of experiments, standard in other model organisms, impossible to perform on humans.

Human development constitutes a slower process than that of traditional model organisms, such as nematode worms, fruit-flies, mice, etc., utilized in behavior studies.

As Caitlin Jones examines the different functions that genetics and the environment play in the criminal behavior of individuals, he notes that research states: "it is more often an interaction between genes and the environment that predicts criminal behavior. Having a genetic predisposition for criminal behavior does not determine the actions of an individual, but if they are exposed to the right environment, then their chances are greater for engaging in criminal or anti-social behavior."


An excuse represents a legal conclusion that the conduct is wrong, undesirable, but that criminal liability is inappropriate because some characteristic vitiates society's desire to punish him. Excuses do not destroy blame... rather they shift it from the actor to the excusing conditions.... Acts are justified; actors are excused. (ROBINSON, supra note 46, [section] 25(d), at 100-01, cited by Chiu.

During an individual's first few years in life, in keeping with instructions from the genes, basic brain material is produced. The brain refashions itself, Weyant states, and its connections according experiences it encounters in its environment.

In the 2007 revised report of the 2006 study, the impact of diet on anti-social, violent and criminal behaviour, Benton, explores the role of diet in anti-social behavior, particularly noting double-blind placebo-controlled trials. Although the pattern proved individual to the child, results portrayed children potentially responding to a wide range of food items.

Benton found:

elimination diets reduced hyperactivity-related symptoms,

Supplementation with poly-unsaturated fatty acids decreased violence...." No evidence of an influence on hyperactivity, however, was noted.

Benton reports that vitamin/mineral supplementation reduces anti-social behavior and that findings from research correlates a tendency to develop low blood glucose and aggression. A number of idiosyncratic responses to diet, albeit, evolved from a broad range of foods interacting with personal physiological dissimilarities. As participants share a common behavioural designation or diagnosis, Benton did not observe responses in all members of the chosen groups.

Benton reports well-controlled studies confirm the following factors regarding food intolerance and anti-social behaviour:

number of children, diagnosed with ADHD and related diagnoses, experience adverse reactions to particular foods.

The most common problem foods include dairy products, wheat, and chocolate,

No particular pattern of foods for a particular response, however, can be confirmed as individual responses vary.

All members of selected groups did not experience reactions as participants share ADHD or another common behavioural designation.

Varying Considerations include:


Sex relative importance of genetic and environmental factors may vary for different measures

In their 2007 study of 605 families of twins or triplets, "Genetic and Environmental Bases of Childhood Antisocial Behavior: A Multi-Informant Twin Study," Baker, Jacobson, Raine, Lozano and Bezdjian present their work as "the first study to demonstrate strong heritable effects on ASB in ethnically and economically diverse samples." As the authors purposed to evaluate "rater effects on the genetic and environmental influences on a shared view of antisocial behaviour," they find that parents, children, and teachers possess only a partial "shared view" view of a child's antisocial behavior. Ancillary factors also influence the factors noted by various informants.

Baker, Jacobson, Raine, Lozano and Bezdjian analyzed measures of conduct disorder, aggression ratings, delinquency, as well as, psychopathic traits, accessed through child self-reports, teacher, and caregiver ratings. Their multivariate
...As criminal law provides rules for a person's behavior and the consequences of violating those rules, the law assumes an individual is capable of understanding the rules and the consequences. This serves as one means to discourage individuals from engaging in law breaking practices. Sometimes, however, a person considered criminally insane may not be capable of recognizing and assessing reasons for obeying the law, and making choices in light of their assessments. Excessive and extensive abuse often generates insanity contributing to this dearth of reasoning.

Reasonable Investigations


Even if genetic differences offer insight as to the reasons for individuals' behavior, genetic differences construe only one part of the scenario, Farahany and. Coleman conclude. In their 2006 behavioral geneticists' studies of antisocial or criminal behavior, genetic differences did not account for thirty-eight to eighty-eight percent of the observed behavioral variation in the study population. These authors discuss practitioners' efforts to utilize behavioral genetics evidence in U.S. criminal law cases. They also explore how behavioral genetics and the theoretical concept of criminal responsibility compare in the U.S. criminal justice system. As a matter of criminal law theory, Farahany and. Coleman contend, regardless of scientific progress in the behavioral genetics' field, such evidence does not contribute much value in assessing criminal responsibility.

The root causes of delinquency, maladaptive and antisocial behavior, crime and violence have been debated for decades," Bitsas, reports. Some posit that behavior disorders evolve from a number of negative life experiences, including being abused as a child, lack of love, bad parenting, poverty and, broken homes and poverty. During the past decade, albeit, "scientific research has shown that imbalances in neurotransmitters, their precursors, and other biochemicals and nutrients can significantly contribute to severe behavior disorders and violence. Even more compelling is the growing number of studies demonstrating that behavior can be enhanced through nutrient supplementation and dietary changes."

Litton argues that children who are severely abused and neglected tend to be more likely to commit violent crimes as adults. In a trial, he stresses, jurors can benefit from hearing evidence that can provide a psychological look into the defendant's past. In turn, jurors are empowered to make more knowledgeable decisions.

The Supreme Court has held that capital defendants have a right to present evidence of their childhood and that their Sixth Amendment right to counsel requires their attorneys make reasonable investigations into their background, unless it is reasonable not to.

Engineer, Phillips, Renuka, Thompson, and Nicholls point out that in regard to binge drinking among 18- to 24-year-old attitude, motivations and social and peer group norms often relate to their age group's specific experiences, values and lifestyles. Similarly, this researcher purports, in regard to some criminal activities, the behaviour may correlate to the experiences, values and lifestyles common their age group.

Morse, who explores an addict's relation to his/her criminal responsibility, stresses that the "discovery of genetic or of any other physical or psychosocial cause of action" does not contribute any additional issues regarding responsibility, and discovery of such causes. Nor does it, per se, develop an excusing or mitigating condition for criminal behavior or other conduct. As addiction inescapably involves human action, in turn it is subject to moral evaluation. Essentially, by compromising rationality, addiction could contribute to condition warranting mitigation or excuse. Good reason exists to perceive most addicts are responsible for their seeking-and-using behavior. Similarly, addicts are responsible for other immoral or criminal activity related to addiction. Even though human behavioral genetics may enhance the understanding of human behaviour, Farahany and Coleman note, it provides only a minute amount of relevance for assigning responsibility in the criminal law. Behavioral genetics, however, does not support genetic determinism. Instead, this science exposes "a complex interaction of biology and the environment that gives rise to behavioral differences between individuals." As it may provide "moral relief for stigmatized conditions," for individuals in some cases, behavioral genetics research can contribute to criminal behavior being considered to be caused by human biology, instead of "a conscious choice of moral depravity."

Similarly, attributing a trait solely to genetic factors, "a reductive and determinist view of behavioral genetics research can also shift blame away from environmental factors created by society." Carl purports an individual's brain is the result of genetics and environment and that he and other religious individuals contend God creates the human brain. Both side of the Nature/Nurture…

Sources Used in Documents:


Beecher-Monas, Erica, and Edgar Garcia-Rill. "Genetic Predictions of Future Dangerousness: Is There a Blueprint for Violence?." Law and Contemporary Problems 69, no. 1-2 (2006): 301+. Database online. Available from Questia, Accessed 16 February 2008.

Bitsas, Constantine. "Food for Thoughout: The Role of Nutrients in Reducing Aggression, Violence and Criminal Behavior." Corrections Today, April 2004, 110+. Database online. Available from Questia, Accessed 16 February 2008.

Braun, Lundy. "8 Commentary," in Nature and Nurture: The Complex Interplay of Genetic and Environmental Influences on Human Behavior and Development. Edited by Coll, Cynthia Garcia, Elaine L. Bearer, and Richard M. Lerner, 139-143. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004. Book online. Available from Questia, Accessed 16 February 2008.

Bullock, Bernadette Marie, Kirby Deater-Deckard, and Leslie D. Leve. "Deviant Peer Affiliation and Problem Behavior: A Test of Genetic and Environmental Influences." Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 34, no. 1 (2006): 29+. Database online. Available from Questia, Accessed 16 February 2008.

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