It wasn't me it was my frontal lobe
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It wasn't me it was my frontal lobe


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This week we consider the problem of biological explanations for crime.  While there is some appeal in being able to pinpoint a cause for violence, it does raise the issue of what we do about this knowledge.  Do we screen young children?

Learning outcomes

This week's lecture will specifically address the following learning criterion:

Evaluate the contribution of different disciplines to our understanding of crime

Resources for this topic

Rice, T.R., & Hoffman, L. (2015). Adolescent mass shootings: Developmental considerations in light of the Sandy Hook shooting. Adolescent Medicine and Health, 27(2), 183-187.

Richman, J.G. (2014). Understanding brain health can prevent another Sandy Hook shooting, Violence and Gender, 1(1), 11-12.

Kaba, F., Diamond, P., Haque, A., MacDonald, R., & Venters, H. (2014). Trumatic brain injury among newly admitted adolescents in the New York City jail system. Journal of Adolescent Health, 54, 615-617.


Biological characteristics play an important role in the formation of an individual's behaviour towards crime. It is the sole duty of the brain to perform the functions of thinking and feeling. Further, it is the frontal lobe that undertakes the prime executive processes of the brain functionality. The answer deals with the issues of frontal lobe on the criminal behaviour of an individual while analysing and evaluating the role of the frontal lobe in the performance.

Biological characteristics are generally adopted by an individual either genetically or through inheritance, but another outcome may be resulted due to an individual's environment. The factors that give rise to crime also depend on the brain functionality and its malfunctioning due to an injury or uneven diet. As per the present biological theory of traits, the biological characteristics of an individual are not the direct cause of a crime. Rather, the biological conditions that are hampered due to many social or mental imbalances are the direct cause of the crime. Violent behaviours and socio-cultural exposure of teenagers also give rise to the criminal activities within the group. Primarily, due to the high rise in the usage of drugs and similar addictive materials, the biological characteristics of children are disturbed and this, in turn, gives rise to crime. Other biological behaviours that directly or indirectly leave an impact on the cause of crime include the decrease in cognitive skills and rise of sensibility among children and adults due to over-consumption of alcohol.


The frontal lobe is one of the most important and prominent part of the brain which performs the major activities of the thinking and feeling. Moreover, it also undertakes the major duties of decision making, planning of events and even it caters to the solving of problems. It has been noticed that the brain causes behaviours and activities in such ways and measures that may cause a breach in moral responsibility. As it is the duty of the frontal lobe of the brain to undertake the duty of thinking and feeling, the frontal lobe is directly associated with the criminal behaviour of an individual. Further, damage in the prefrontal cortex can even give rise to instability and cause inappropriate social behaviours that give rise to criminal behaviours at times. An injury in the frontal lobe even results in exaggeration. Further, prolonged aggression among individuals even results in criminal behaviours. 

As per statistics, more than 8.5% of the general population are succumbing to frontal lobe injury and also inhibit traits of criminal behaviour in themselves. Moreover, a vast rate of frontal injury has been noticed among the prisoners which stand at 87% of the total prison population. Results have even presented those cases of aggression and change in the personality after the frontal lobe injury. As per a case study of Keven and his foster dad Richard, the foster dad strangled Keven with a rope just because he found the lad masturbating. It was later diagnosed that he was suffering from 'brain dysfunction' related to frontal lobe. Cases of assaultive behaviour have also been noticed among the individuals suffering from the issue. Similarly, it can be projected that frontal lobe injuries are commonly and primarily related to violence and thus gives rise to criminal behaviour among the individuals.

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