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Forensic Psychology – Biological Explanations for Offending

1. Physiological Theories of Criminal Behaviour

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this lecture, we think about the concept of ‘making a criminal’, focusing in particular on: (i) the transition from the philosophical considerations of criminal behaviour and tendencies, to a more scientific approach, as promoted by Cesare Lombroso; (ii) Lombroso’s atavistic form theory, which proposed that there were physical features, indicative of underdevelopment, which were attributed with committing crime; (iii) an evaluation of Lombroso’s research being that it is unfounded in our modern understanding of genetics and behaviour, but that it did serve to shift the focus of research into criminal behaviour from a philosophical basis to an empirical one; (iv) Sheldon’s 1949 somatotyping theory, which proposed that mesomorphs (muscular physical form) were more prone to criminal activity; (v) alternative explanations for the correlation between the mesomorphic body type and criminal behaviour.

Course

In this course, Professor Ciarán O’Keeffe (Buckinghamshire New University) explores biological explanations for offending. In the first lecture, we think about the concept of ‘making a criminal’ and the transition from philosophical to scientific methodologies. In the second lecture, we think about biological strategies for preventing criminal behaviour, including nutritional interventions and facial surgery for criminals. In the third lecture, we think about the Raine et al. (1997) study, which identified brain areas linked to violence and aggression. Next, we think about the Haney et al. (1973) study, also known as the Stanford Prison Experiment, run by Philip Zimbardo. In the fifth lecture, we think about how brain injury can influence violence and aggression, as well as the ability for brain injury research to inform our understanding of this field. In the sixth and final lecture, we think about XYY syndrome and the mixed results research on it have found regarding its impact on violence, aggression and criminal behaviour.

Lecturer

Professor Ciarán O’Keeffe is associate professor of education and research and head of the School of Human and Social Sciences at Buckinghamshire New University. Professor O’Keeffe’s research interests include investigative psychology and parapsychology, and has made numerous television and radio appearances alongside an array of celebrities. Some of Professor O’Keeffe’s recent publications include 'Things That Go Bump In The Literature: An Environmental Appraisal of 'Haunted Houses'' (2020) and 'Restorative Justice and Recidivism: Investigating the impact of victim-preference for level of engagement' (2014).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

O'Keeffe, C. (2022, April 01). Forensic Psychology – Biological Explanations for Offending - Physiological Theories of Criminal Behaviour [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/forensic-psychology-biological-explanations-for-offending/physiological-theories-of-criminal-behaviour

MLA style

O'Keeffe, C. "Forensic Psychology – Biological Explanations for Offending – Physiological Theories of Criminal Behaviour." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 01 Apr 2022, https://www.massolit.io/courses/forensic-psychology-biological-explanations-for-offending/physiological-theories-of-criminal-behaviour

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