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Criminal Psychology

Many TV shows and movies dealing with criminals have made notions about various criminal psychology and forensic psychology. This is the reason for various misconceptions in the mind of the viewers regarding the day-to-day work of the criminal psychologists and forensic psychologists. Criminal psychology, which is also called as criminological psychology, is the study of the views, intentions and thoughts, of criminals who participate in various criminal activities.

It doesn�t only deal with the study of what makes a person commit a crime, but also with their reaction after committing the crime, on the run or in the court. Criminal psychologists are often asked to come as witnesses in court cases to help the jury members understand the mind of a criminal. Criminal behaviour can also be stated as a kind of antisocial behaviour, which is punishable usually by law but can be punished by norms, stated by the community, therefore, it�s difficult to define it, as there is always a fine line between what can be considered right, and what is considered not to be- because something which was considered as a violation previously, may be accepted by the community today.

With time, there has been a growing literature on biological explanations of various criminal behaviour. This particular paper provides a selective review of three specific biological factors- psychophysiology- which deals with blunted heart rate and skin conductance, brain mechanisms- with the focus on various functional and structural aberrations of the amygdala, striatum, and the prefrontal cortex, and lastly, the genetics- with an emphasis on the gene-environment and gene-gene interactions. Hence, understanding the role of biology in the antisocial and criminal behaviour may also help to increase the different explanations of the current research and theories.

Psycho-physiology, which is also referred to as the levels of arousal within an individual, has become very important for the biological explanation for antisocial and criminal behaviour. The two of the common psycho-physiological measures are stated to be heart rate and skin conductance. Both of which capture the autonomic nervous system functioning; i.e, the skin conductance reflects the sympathetic nervous system functions, while the heart rate reflects both, sympathetic as well as parasympathetic nervous system activity. Different autonomic functioning has been associated with the increase in antisocial behaviour, which includes violence. Studies over a long period of time have suggested that low resting heart rate in adolescence can be associated with the increased risk for criminality during adulthood. But, there is also positive feedback, whereby blunted autonomic functioning may lead to an increase in antisocial and criminal behaviour, which can turn into reinforcing disrupted physiological activity.

Recently, there has been an increase in interest regarding the role of the brain in antisocial and criminal behavior. Generally, the research suggests that antisocial and criminal individuals seem to exhibit reduced brain volumes along with impaired connectivity in the important areas related to emotion regulation, and morality while also exhibiting increase in the volumes and functional abnormalities in reward regions of the brain. These prefrontal and subcortical regions which have been implicated in antisocial, as well as in criminal behavior are the main focus of this report.

There has been an increase in evidence for the genetic basis of criminal behaviour. Behavioral genetic studies on twins have given an advantage because such layouts can differentiate the effects of the genetics and the environment within the context of explaining variance within a particular population (Glenn & Raine, 2014). Additionally, a new variety of psychological and psychiatric constructs which are associated with antisociality and thus, criminality, such as intelligence, personality, and mental health disorders, have been found to be heritable as mentioned by Baker, Bezdjian, & Raine). While the individual studies estimations vary, meta-analyses have suggested that the level of heritability of antisocial behavior happens to be approximately 40�60%. However, the heritability of criminal behaviours are different in various parts based upon the specific behaviours examined thereof. (Burt, 2009; Gard et al., 2019).

While the various biological processes can help to contribute to antisocial and criminal behaviour, these don�t guarantee on the negative outcomes. Considering the fact that many of the above mentioned biological risk factors are basically influenced by social environment, but interventions in multiple spheres may also help to mitigate the biological risks for antisocial behaviours.

Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Prapti Hota - 1st year, BBA LLB, KIIT School of Law
Awarded certificate of Excellence
Authentication No: MA109144363778-1-0421

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