Biosociology: An Emerging Paradigm

By Anthony Walsh | Go to book overview

are not the reason that science is usually done; intellectual curiosity is reason enough. The biosocial approach goes beyond the macro approaches of the past that targeted "strain," "peer groups," "racism," "social class," "urbanism," "subcultures," and so forth to try to determine the mechanisms by which these alleged causes produce their effects. However, just as I believe that any examination of criminality that does not include neurohormonal factors is inherently incomplete, any examination of neurohormonal factors that ignores environmental factors is likewise incomplete. In this "decade of the brain," and with genetic knowledge increasing almost exponentially, criminologists have an unprecedented opportunity to join other scientists in rigorous biosocial analyses of the causes of criminality. If criminologists pass up the opportunity, the torch will be passed to other disciplines; the study of crime is too important to remain mired in premodern science.


NOTES
1.
Durkheim ( 1982:106) was careful to distinguish between social facts and biological and psychological facts, and between crime and criminality: "From the fact that crime is a phenomenon of normal sociology, it does not follow that the criminal is an individual normally constituted from the biological and psychological points of view."
2.
Gottfredson and Hirschi ( 1990:88) eschew the concept of criminality because "It suggests that people differ to the extent to which they are compelled to crime." The concept of criminality suggests no such thing to me, nor probably to the majority of criminologists. Nevertheless, Gottfredson and Hirschi ( 1990:88) wish to substitute the concept of self-control because this concept "suggests that people differ in which they are restrained from criminal act." Surely "criminality," stripped of the compulsive properties Gonfredson and Hirschi have imbued it with, more fully and accurately describes the phenomenon of frequent law breaking than does "self-control," although low self-control is a very large component of criminality.
3.
Differential IQ also helps us to understand the underlying mechanisms of one of criminology's most revered theories. Rowe and Osgood ( 1984) showed that many of the principles of differentially association theory were underpinned by differential IQ. They found a correlation of 0.51 between self-reported delinquency and association with delinquent peers among 265 pairs of twins. This respectable correlation should not surprise--the concept of active CE correlation informs us that people tend to do what they enjoy in the company of the like-minded. Rowe and Osgood's data allowed them to decompose the correlation into genetic (61%), common environment (23%), and specific environment (16%) components. The genetic component centered around IQ: "When twin partners have different IQs, they can be expected to have dissimilar rates of delinquency and dissimilar degrees of association with delinquent peers" ( 1984:537). This selective aggregation process, however, may not apply in environments of greater population density where "good" and "bad" kids occupy the same streets and buildings. In such environments, companion choice is a luxury unavailable to most children ( Stark, 1987:896).
4.
Another problem of the same general sort exists when pooling IQ scores of childhood-onset delinquents with adolescence-onset offenders ( Moffitt, 1993:629). Comparing adolescent-onset and childhood-onset delinquents with nondelinquents on

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Biosociology: An Emerging Paradigm
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables and Figures vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xiii
  • Note xv
  • Chapter 1 the Case for Biosociology 1
  • Notes 16
  • Chapter 2 Genetics and Human Behavior 19
  • Notes 41
  • Chapter 3 the Brain and Its Environment 43
  • Notes 66
  • Chapter 4 Emotion and the Autonomic and Endocrine Systems 69
  • Notes 90
  • Chapter 5 Intelligence and Society 93
  • Notes 117
  • Notes 120
  • Chapter 6 Sexual Dimorphism and Sex-Role Behavior 121
  • Notes 142
  • Notes 144
  • Chapter 7 Human Sexuality and Evolution 145
  • Notes 170
  • Chapter 8 the Nature and Nurture of Criminality 173
  • Notes 197
  • Chapter 9 Love, Marriage, and the Family 201
  • Notes 224
  • References 227
  • Name Index 259
  • Subject Index 269
  • About the Author 273
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