Sociological Psychological And Biological Theories Of Criminals Essay


¶ … biological theories, sociological theories, and psychological theories of crime. Biological explanations of criminal behavior

Lombroso's Theory dates back to the late 1800s, and is not widely accepted today. Lombroso believed that a person's body type and constitution can tell a researcher whether or not the person is "a born criminal" (Crossman, 2011). Lombroso believed that criminals inherited their deviance, and that the body type of a person, if it resembled "primitive men," meant that individual was a criminal through a biological connection.

Typically, Lombroso believed that if a person had five or more characteristics from this list (" ... large monkey-like ears, large lips, a twisted nose, excessive cheekbones, long arms, and excessive wrinkles on the skin") then that individual would likely be a "born criminal" (Crossman, p. 1). Females, according to Lombroso, needed just three of these characteristics to qualify as a "born criminal."

Another biological crime theory comes from William Sheldon, whose work took place in the early to mid 1900s; Sheldon developed his theory around three types of human bodies: ectomorphs, endomorphs, and mesomorphs (Crossman, p. 2). He postulated that ectomorphs have "thin and fragile" bodies; that they have small shoulders, their...


2). Endomorphs are "soft and fat," and they have "underdeveloped muscles, a round physique," and struggle to keep excess weight off their bodies (John Goodman would fall into this category) (Crossman, p. 2). Mesomorphs are athletic and muscular, with good posture, and an example would be Bruce Willis or Sylvester Stallone (Crossman, p. 2).
Psychological explanations of criminal behavior

The psychoanalytic theory holds that "... all humans have criminal tendencies," and humans have "natural drives and urges" that we repress in the unconscious (Sigmund Freud). To reel in these urges and drives, Freud said people get involved in socialization; hence, he believed that when a child is properly socialized at an early age, the likelihood of that person becoming criminal at an adult age is greatly reduced (Crossman, p. 3). The cognitive development theory (developed by Lawrence Kohlberg) points out that there are three levels or moral reasoning: a) stage one is the "preconventional stage" which takes place during the middle portion of childhood, and it is strictly based on "obedience and avoiding punishment"; b) stage two is reached toward the end of middle childhood, and is based on what the family and…

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