The Genetics of Criminality and Delinquency

Authored by: Lisabeth Fisher DiLalla , Sufna Gheyara

The Ashgate Research Companion to Biosocial Theories of Crime

Print publication date:  November  2011
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409408437
eBook ISBN: 9781315612768
Adobe ISBN: 9781317044055

10.4324/9781315612768.ch4

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Abstract

One of the primary goals of psychological research is to understand the causes and correlates of human behavior. Much of the literature has focused on maladaptive behavior, not only as a comparison point for normal behavior, but also as a target for preventative and treatment measures. In particular, criminal and delinquent behavior, defined as violation of laws and ordinances by adults or children, respectively, have received a large amount of attention in the field. It is important to note that many behaviors that are considered delinquent, such as breaking curfew, would not be considered criminal behavior. The substantial push amongst researchers to understand criminal and delinquent behavior is largely due to the negative consequences with which they are associated. Although all maladaptive behaviors influence the acting individual in a negative way, few have the ability to harm outside parties in the same capacity as criminal behavior. Many criminal and delinquent behaviors affect more than just the perpetrator; thus, the understanding of what causes, and in turn what may prevent, such behavior has large societal implications.

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