“Research for the motive of criminal behavior”
The research for “scientific crime [started] on a cold, gray November morning in 1871, on the east coast of Italy. Cesare Lombroso, a psychiatrist and prison doctor at an asylum for the criminally insane, was performing a routine autopsy on an infamous Calabrian brigand named Giuseppe Villella. Lombroso found an unusual indentation at the base of Villella’s skull…the founding father of modern criminology” (Adrian Raine, April 26, 2013). For over a century, modern criminology has developed a correlation between genetics and neuroscience. Modern-day researchers examine these correlations to discover the motive for criminal behavior. In this paper, the relationship between Lombroso’s controversial theory and effects of the brain, genetics and environmental conflict highlight modern criminology’s development and correlations to discovering the motive for criminal behavior.
Theory and Effects
Cesare Lombroso was an Italian university professor and criminologist. Lombroso’s controversial theory states “that crime originated in large measure from deformities of the brain” (Adrian Raine). It would be unnecessary to argue that Lombroso’s theory is unethical when modern-day scientist consider his proposed ideas. Ironically, this theory is correlated to neuroscience research studies to criminal behavior. Neuroscience “is the study of how the nervous system develops, its structure and what it does” (Medical News Today). According to Adrian Raine, Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, “brain-imaging techniques are identifying physical deformations and functional abnormalities that predispose some individuals to violence”. Raine’s discoveries illustrate signs of violent tendencies in studying the brain scans of criminals. In a recent study, Raine analyzed the brain of Donta Page, a male from “Denver, Colorado sentenced to life in prison without parole for the rape-murder of Peyton Tuthill on February 24, 1999” (Murderpedia).
Page’s brain scan reflected “reduced functioning of the ventral prefrontal cortex- the area of the brain that helps regulate emotions and controls impulses” (Adrian Raine). The colors illustrated in Page’s scan were a majority green compared to a normal brain which has majority red in its frontal lobe. So what explains criminal behavior? Given brain imaging analyses, studies also have documented impairments in offenders. For Donta Page, he avoided death penalty based in part on brain pathology. Of course there is a different brain profile for every criminal but, typically for murders, they “tend to have poorer functioning in their prefrontal cortex-[which] keeps the breaks on impulsive, disinhibited behavior and volatile emotions” (Adrian Raine). Those who are criminals and plan their bad intentions will reflect good prefrontal functioning. Interesting how Professor Raine emphasized how people of “criminal” activity all have bad intentions but don’t have the same brain profile. The illustration of Donta Page’s brain scan in comparison to a normal brain gave a clear indication and understanding of disinhibited behavior and volatile emotions in the frontal lobe of the brain which indicated green than a normal brain which would indicate red. Professor Adrian Raine has taken Lombroso’s theory into consideration providing evidence that crime originated in large measure from deformities of the brain and neuroscience is the motive for discovering criminal behavior.
It has been established from Lombroso’s theory that crime originated in large measure from deformities of the brain. Professor Adrian Raine analyzed brain scans to determine deformities in criminals and acknowledged an illustrated explanation for criminal behavior. The unanswered and preceding debate involves specific environmental factors inflicting criminal behavior. For centuries, researchers focus on the correlation between genes and environmental possibilities that cause personality traits and disorders inflicting criminal behavior. Unfortunately, environmental factors are possible influences; not a guaranteed diagnosis for criminal behavior. According to Adrian Raine, “a poor environment can change the early brain and make for antisocial behavior later in life”. What does Raine particularly mean by “later in life”? For example, “environmental factors that affect the young brain, lead is neurotoxin…measured lead levels in our
bodies tend to peak at 21 months…children generally pick up lead in soil that have been contaminated by air pollution and dumping.” (Adrian Raine). Rising lead levels in the U.S. from “1950 through 1970s [increasing] violence 20 years later” (Adrian Raine). Thus, predisposed environmental factors of lead became exposed to the “genes and [carried them onto the next two decades]” (Jack Pemment) contributing criminal behavior later in life. The integration between modern history facts and its impacting environmental effects provide clear indication for answers in the research debate of criminal behavior. In the case of Mr. Page, “as his files documented, as a child he suffered from poor nutrition, severe parental neglect, sustained physical and sexual abuse, early head injuries, learning disabilities, poor cognitive functioning and lead exposure” (Adrian Raine). These explanations documented were put into consideration when Mr. Page was referred to psychological treatment instead of death penalty. Thus, Page’s documentations and rising lead level event in history provides evidence that environmental factors exposed to genes contribute to criminal behavior proving genetics and environmental conflict highlight modern criminology’s development and correlations to discovering the motive for criminal behavior.
In conclusion, this paper summarized the relationship between Lombroso’s controversial theory and effects of the brain, genetics and environmental conflict highlight modern criminology’s development and correlations to discovering the motive for criminal behavior. Adrian Raine provided illustrated analyses on Donta Page’s brain and explained criminal behavior to justify that Lombroso’s theory that “crime originated in large measure from deformities of the brain” is evident, proving neuroscience is the motive for discovering criminal behavior. Page’s documentations and rising lead level event in history provided evidence that environmental factors exposed to genes contributed to criminal behavior proving genetics and environmental conflict highlight modern criminology’s development and correlations to discovering the motive for criminal behavior.
Pemment, J. (2013, January 29). Evolution and the Psychopath | Psychology Today. Psychology Today: Health, Help, Happiness + Find a Therapist. Retrieved May 7, 2013, from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/blame-the-amygdala/201301/evolution-and-the-psychopath RAINE, A. (2013, April 26). Neurocriminology: Inside the Criminal Mind – WSJ.com. The Wall Street Journal – Breaking News, Business, Financial and Economic News, World News & Video – Wall Street Journal – Wsj.com. Retrieved May 7, 2013, from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323335404578444682892520530.html What Is Neuroscience?. (2012, August 7). Medical News Today: Health News. Retrieved May 7, 2013, from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248680.php country. (n.d.). Donta Page | Murderpedia, the encyclopedia of murderers. Murderpedia, the encyclopedia of murderers. Retrieved May 7, 2013, from http://murderpedia.org/male.P/p/page-donta.htm