Criminal and antisocial behaviour threaten cooperative social organization, and each culture has developed methods to isolate and punish criminals. However, criminal behaviour has not been eliminated in any culture, and so it is rational to try to use scientific approaches to explain the origins and causes of criminal behaviour, and to suggest ways of preventing crime or rehabilitating offenders. There has been extensive research on environmental causes of criminal behaviour: this book examines the evidence for genetic contributions. Twin and adoption studies suggest that there may be genetic contributions to some criminal behaviours. The data are examined in detail in this book, which includes discussion of the methodological problems of disentangling genetic and environmental sources of variance in behaviour. In animals, aggression is commonly an appropriate response to environmental stimuli: data from the relevant animal studies of the inheritance of aggressiveness are included in the book. There have been reports suggesting neuropharmacological abnormalities in violent offenders. These represent potential underlying mechanisms whereby genetic influences could be mediated. The recent evidence regarding brain and, in particular, neurotransmitter abnormalities is discussed. A heritable tendency to behave in a particular way would have significant implications for criminology, particularly for rehabilitation strategies. Important issues also arise for moral philosophy. Separate chapters examine evolutionary and anthropological aspects of violence and warfare. The book is truly multidisciplinary and contains contributions from behavioural geneticists, population geneticists, evolutionary theorists, neuroscientists, philosophers and criminologists.
Partial table of contents:
GENERAL DISCUSSION I.
Aggression from a Developmental Perspective: Genes, Environments and Interactions (R. Cairns).
A Twin Study of Self-Reported Criminal Behaviour (M. Lyons).
GENERAL DISCUSSION II.
Predisposition to Criminality: Swedish Adoption Studies in Retrospect (M. Bohman).
Assessing the Role of Genetics in Crime Using Adoption Cohorts (P. Brennan, et al).
GENERAL DISCUSSION III.
MAOA Deficiency and Abnormal Behaviour: Perspectives on an Association (H. Brunner).
GENERAL DISCUSSION IV.
Chronic Problems in Understanding Tribal Violence and Warfare (N. Chagnon).
The Implications for Responsibility of Possible Genetic Factors in the Explanation of Violence (J. Glover).
Legal Implications of Genetics and Crime Research (D. Denno).