Are Criminals Born or Made?

Topics: Crime, Criminology, Sociology Pages: 3 (1016 words) Published: January 31, 2010
Are criminals born or made?
A criminal is defined as someone who has committed a crime. Psychologists have come up with many theories and reasons about why people commit crimes. The two main explanations lie in genetic and environmental factors, which relates to the nature and nurture debate. Studies have been carried out to explain criminal behavior. Some suggest that criminals are born; these are twin and adoption studies. On the other hand there are also studies that have been conducted to prove that criminals are made by society; these include the social learning theory and labeling behavior. These are examples I will use to support both sides of the argument to determine whether criminals are born or made.

Some biologists, medical researchers and psychologists have come to the assumption that criminal behavior is inherited just as other medical problems, such as high cholesterol and heart disease. This gives them the conclusion that criminals have a predisposition to commit crime and are indeed born. To prove this Brown et al (1998) carried out ‘twin studies’ where they kept records of twins and their contact with the police. This was to try and isolate the effects of hereditary and environmental factors on criminal behavior. The correlations of criminal behavour of identical and fraternal twins were compared to each other in these studies; they found that rates of involvement in criminal acts to be more similar for pairs of identical twins compared to fraternal. However, critics argue that reasons other than that of hereditary could be the cause for the result. Opposed to other siblings identical twins generally spend more time together, usually having the same friends and teachers, therefore sharing allot of experiences. Identical twins are usually more attached to each other because of the aforementioned factors, making them similar in attitude and behavior including, involvement in criminal activity.

Adoption studies were carried out to try and...
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