It’s Nature and Nurture: Integrating Biology and Genetics into the Social Learning Theory

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People often wonder why criminals do what they do and its often a question of nature versus nurture. Whether their surroundings were the cause of their criminality or their home environment. The scholarly article “It's nature and nurture: Integrating biology and genetics into the social learning theory of criminal behavior” written by Fox focused on their social and environmental factors as well as heritability to understand what produces criminal behavior. Fox used different studies to show the different factors that causes them to become violent and eventually lead to becoming a criminal. The scholarly article “Nature and Nurture Predispose to Violent Behavior: Serotonergic Genes and Adverse Childhood Environment” written by Reif as well as other contributors focused on the development of child behavior caused by maltreatment and abuse as a child. The aggression is measured by looking into their life history and rating their childhood environment based on their family climate, family structure, social integration, and school education. Both articles answer why criminals act and do inhumane and violent things, but fox focuses more on how genetics and the environment cause them to be a criminal whereas Reif’s article focuses on the violent behaviors of the participants in the study based on their childhood environment.

Fox’s research is considered a systemic review because it gave information relevant to the subject but came from other studies researched by Fox. A study conducted by Hans Eyesenck in 1964 conducted the study that led to others researching the correlation between criminal behavior and genetics by finding out that identical twins had higher rates of criminal behavior when compared with fraternal. This research showed that hereditary plays an important part in an individual becoming predisposed to violence. The social learning theory developed by burgess and akers concludes that deviant behaviors learned are caused by the individuals learning processes that directs that person’s behavior. This theory focuses on what social interaction as well as interaction in the home environment could persuade an individual into doing something even though they are thought the difference between right and wrong. These actions are most likely influenced by peer pressure or the deviant behavior they surround themselves in. The scholarly article focuses on how both environmental and social factors such as peer pressure, family structure, neighborhood location, and hereditary predispositions could influence an individual into criminal behavior.

Reif and the other contributors, which focuses on the aggressive and violent behaviors of individuals based on early child experiences, is a cohort study. In reif’s study, 184 Caucasian males were chosen to participate following numerous psychiatric tests as well as an evaluation of risk assessment and legal responsibility. Only individuals with no mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, acute schizophrenia, or major depression were chosen for the study. In their study, the 184 participants conducted tests based on their child environment and home lifestyle, separating the participants into 2 groups: violent and non-violent based on aggressiveness and past violent behaviors. Participants also drew blood for genotyping to check for history of personality disorder, aggressiveness, and substance abuse. Reif and the others concluded that participants with a history of recurrent violent behavior, personality behavior, and drug abuse is a prediction of future violent/ aggressive behaviors. This study found that traumatic and adverse childhood environment increased the chances of criminality greatly later in life. After stating their research, they compared their study to a Swedish study about how puberty might constitute for violent behavior. Reif explains how the contradicting findings between his and the Swedish study is due to how genetic influence becomes more relevant with increasing age.

While both state the advert effects of both environmental and social effects it causes in an individual, they use different strategies to come to their conclusions. In fox’s article it states how even though genes do not cause any type of behavior, they do produce the traits and personalities of the individual as well as tendencies which leads an individual to their environment in a certain way. To explain, an individual with a genotype for darker skin tone living in the united states may have a totally different social environment as a person with a lighter skin tone due a combination of social and biological influences.

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It's Nature and Nurture: Integrating Biology and Genetics Into the Social Learning Theory. (2021, Apr 03). Retrieved July 13, 2024 , from

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