Chapter

The evolutionary psychology of criminal behaviour

Aurelio José Figueredo, Paul Robert Gladden and Zachary Hohman

in Applied Evolutionary Psychology

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199586073
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731358 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199586073.003.0013
The evolutionary psychology of criminal behaviour

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Etiological theories of criminal behaviour are reviewed, compared, and contrasted, stemming from both standard social science and from evolutionary social science. Those stemming from standard social science include classical theories, positivist theories, functionalist theories, cultural, sub-cultural, and social learning theories, control theories, cognitive theories, and traditional personality theories. Those stemming from evolutionary social science include behavioural genetic theories, reactive heritability and epigenetic theories, sexual selection theories, differential parental investment theories, competitive disadvantage theories, frequency-dependent selection theories, pathogen stress theories, and life history theories. We propose that most of these theories are mutually contradictory to a minimal degree, mostly differing on matters of detail as well as in the conflation of proximate and ultimate levels of causation. As an alternative to this chaotic state of affairs, we propose a cross-disciplinary integration based on the inclusive framework provided by Life History Theory. A wide array of empirical evidence is provided in support of this view as the most inclusive and integrative framework currently available, as well as the most useful framework for helping to explain many of the previous findings within an evolutionary context.

Keywords: interpersonal aggression; antagonistic social schemata; life history strategy

Chapter.  11524 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Psychology

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