Neurobiological Perspectives of Brain Vulnerability in Pathways to Violence over the Life Course

Authored by: Denise Paquette Boots

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


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The idea that criminality and human violence may be linked to biosocial origins is a controversial one that has been argued since the inception of behavioral and social sciences. Since the first work highlighting the nature versus nurture debate was published by Francis Galton (1865), scientists have sought a more lucid understanding of how genetic links might explain human behavior (Plomin & Asbury, 2005). In recent years, the merging of criminological inquiries with disciplines such as neurology, public health, biology, epidemiology, and psychology has resulted in developmental, holistic perspectives that have decidedly moved away from strictly sociological or ecologically-based explanations regarding the genesis of criminogenic behaviors. Accordingly, an intriguing body of research has emerged that endorses an interdisciplinary, biosocial focus regarding the pathways leading to violence and aggression over the lifespan, especially with regard to early onset antisocial behaviors (Viding, 2004). A steady stream of works incorporating new and innovative methods and designs is reinvigorating the level of discourse on whether crime is a result of “nature versus nurture,” or genetic versus environmental theories of antisocial behavior.

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