Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice

2014 Edition
| Editors: Gerben Bruinsma, David Weisburd

Hormones, the Brain, and Criminality

  • Lee Ellis
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5690-2_59


“Is biology really relevant to criminology? After all, criminal behavior is learned, right? People aren’t just born criminals; that’s ridiculous.” Critics of the biosocial perspective still use this sort of reasoning to raise doubts about the role of biology in crime causation. However, such thinking overlooks evidence that many personality traits and even human interests and preferences are genetically influenced to a substantial degree (Bouchard and McGue 2003; Kreek et al. 2005; Schermer and Vernon 2008). There is also considerable evidence that all human learning boils down to neurochemical processes that vary from one individual to another (Lawson 2003). Consequently, even though criminality is learned, biology still affects how we learn. To set the stage for examining this line of reasoning further, this entry will describe the role of a class of biochemicals called hormonesin learning criminal behavior. But before doing so, a little background on biosocial criminology...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anthropology and SociologyUniversity of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia