A Theory Explaining Biological Correlates of Criminality

  title={A Theory Explaining Biological Correlates of Criminality},
  author={Lee Ellis},
  journal={European Journal of Criminology},
  pages={287 - 315}
  • L. Ellis
  • Published 1 July 2005
  • Psychology
  • European Journal of Criminology
Despite major advances in understanding the biological basis of human behaviour, the most popular theories of criminal behaviour remain restricted to those that consider only learning and social environmental variables. All of these strictly environmental theories have difficulty explaining why neurological, hormonal, and other biological factors would be related to criminal behaviour, yet evidence for links between such biological factors and criminality has grown. This article puts forward a… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

Sex, status, and criminality: A theoretical nexus
According to the theory, most males begin to exhibit non‐playful forms of competitive/victimizing behavior around the onset of puberty as they start their reproductive careers, and adolescent males with the greatest abilities to learn will transition quickly from crude forms of competition to more sophisticated forms, while males who have the greatest difficulties learning will transition more slowly.
The emerging science of evolutionary criminology
General Theory versus ENA Theory
For the 10 hypotheses tested, ENA theory surpassed general theory in predictive scope and accuracy and its predictions of positive correlations between pain tolerance, muscularity, and offending were largely confirmed.
Identifying and explaining apparent universal sex differences in cognition and behavior
Race / ethnicity and criminal behavior : Neurohormonal in fl uences
Evolutionary neuroandrogenic (ENA) theory asserts that brain exposed to androgens plus the brain's ability to learn accounts for most of the sex and age variations in criminal behavior. Here, the


Crime in Biological, Social, and Moral Contexts:
The Concept of Pro/Antisociality and the Biosocial Perspective Introduction Conceptualizing Criminal Behavior from a Biosocial Perspective Universal Behavioral and Demographic Correlates of Criminal
Monoamine Oxidase and Criminality: Identifying an Apparent Biological Marker for Antisocial Behavior
After describing how monoamine oxidase (MAO) appears to affect brain functioning, and how the activity of this enzyme, in turn, seems to be influenced by hormonal and genetic factors, studies are
Relationships between central and autonomic measures of arousal at age 15 years and criminality at age 24 years.
Results constitute the first clear evidence that implicates underarousal in all three response systems (electrodermal, cardiovascular, and cortical) in the development of criminality.
Biology, norms, and personality: a developmental perspective.
High levels of norm-breaking behavior in adolescence were associated with adult high impulsiveness, low socialization, and low platelet MAO activity in both male and female subjects.
Juvenile offenders, with special reference to sex differences
Social and demographic background variables relevant to male and female juvenile offenders were studied prospectively in a geographically defined population of 6,007 males and 5,757 females in Northern Finland, and an intelligence quotient of 50–84 was most closely associated with delinquency.
Crime and recovery time: Mednick revisited.
Criminology: A Global Perspective
All chapters conclude with "Summary," "Suggested Readings," and "Exercises." I.THE NATURE OF CRIMINAL/ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOR AND THE DISCIPLINE THAT STUDIES IT. 1.Introduction: The Nature of
The biosocial female choice theory of social stratification
The theory asserts that most human females have evolved mating preferences biased toward males who are competent in provisioning resources, and postulates that alleles have accumulated on the human genome that promote social status‐striving and achievement to varying degrees.
Biological contributions to crime causation
I. Psychophysiological Contributions.- 1 Psychophysiology and Crime: Theory and Data.- 2 Evoked Potentials and Antisocial Behavior.- 3 EEG Topography in Patients with Aggressive Violent Behavior.-
High autonomic arousal and electrodermal orienting at age 15 years as protective factors against criminal behavior at age 29 years.
The findings suggest that individuals predisposed to adult crime by virtue of showing antisocial behavior in adolescence may be protected from committing crime by high levels of autonomic arousal and orienting.