Chapter

Evolutionary Psychology and Criminal Behavior

Anthony Walsh

in Missing the Revolution

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195130027
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199893874 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195130027.003.0008
Evolutionary Psychology and Criminal Behavior

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Criminological theories may be complemented and extended by incorporating biosocial concepts into them. Evolutionary psychology emphasizes that individuals pursue their self-interest in a variety of ways that are dependent upon environmental contingencies. It agrees with mainstream sociology that we are social beings who desire to follow social rules, but it does not romanticize us as inherently good beings who only commit bad acts when forced into them by evil social institutions. We are nepotistic reciprocal altruists who know that we can realize our self-interests more often by cooperating (following rules) than by not cooperating, but our very desire to cooperate generates deviance by providing opportunities for non-cooperators. For both evolutionary psychologists and most mainstream criminological theories, the individuals most likely to commit antisocial acts are those who are disadvantaged in the competition for wealth, power, and status, the evolutionary precursors of reproductive success.

Keywords: criminology; gene/environment correlation); evolutionary psychology; anomie/strain theory; control theory; vertical/compatible integration; sociology; biophobia; behavior genetics; reciprocal altruism

Chapter.  19148 words. 

Subjects: Psychology

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