Biological Criminal Behavior

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An individual can be described to have committed a criminal behavior when he or she is culpable of committing antisocial behavior, which is punishable by the law. The measurements of a criminal behavior can be gauged in terms of apprehensions and custodies, self-reported crimes, authentic crimes, which are typically acquired by government agencies ((Broomfield & Churchill, 2004). In reference to social theory, if an individual is weak in terms of social bounds, the individual is likely to cause an offence where the individual will act according to the expectations from the society (Reuband, 2013).

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One of the well-known criminal was Aileen Wuornos who is considered as an American female serial killer. Her life was enclosed with sorrow, anger, and violence. In her early life she was subjected to rape, abandonment, prostitution, and other sexually related actions which made her the most feared female serial killer in the ‘90s. Her actions were also seen in her father who was also arrested due to rape related case. He later committed suicide in the prison. The molestation by her own grandfather who impregnated her when she was 14 years made her to hate men whom she killed between 1989 and 1991(Lee & Choi, 2014).

In the case of Aileen Wuornos, it is evident that her social environment was the predominant reason why she committed the series of crime in her life. In addition to social environment in which she was involved in, there other biological traits which are mostly attributed to the social environment, and eventually leading her to be a criminal (Sammons, 2009). It is evident that, both biological and social factors have led to people committing multiple offenses. For Aileen, social factors significantly contributed to criminal character.

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Social environment can be described as human communal surroundings, which comprises of instant physical environs, social relations, and cultural settings, which describe how specific community relates to one another. Recent studies have shown that almost all city residents in the world are at a high risk of being exposed to violence (Paoli, 2014). Therefore, the rising criminality in the major cities in the world is a trend that is influenced by the social environment where the individuals involved in the crime are brought up in. This is a clear indication that the social environment has contributed much to development of a background breeds criminal conduct.

In terms of social influences, which are characterized by the nurture and social erudition surroundings, straight influence one’s precise, criminogenic desires. Such wants are traits that will influence the criminal capacity of the individual (Paoli, 2014). These traits bring about the experiences people have as they grow, and will shape their lives either positively and negatively. In the context of the social environment, criminality behavior will be more rampant when an individual is exposed to the environment that cultivates criminality. In this case, Aileen, since her childhood she grew up seeing violence in her life. Starting with the irresponsible behavior of her grandfather who raped her, to the wider society cultivating grounds for sexual immoralities she was involved in (Broomfield & Churchill, 2004).

The other reason that can influence the criminality of an individual is the influence of peers. In the case of  Aileen, she had a friend whom she used to support with the money she obtained from robbery, and as a commercial sexual worker (Sammons, 2009). The friend influenced her to be involved in criminal activities in order to support her financial needs. From this example, it is evident that, peers can influence one to commit unlawful actions and engage in criminal activity. Aileen would continue to provider for her friend from murder activities until when they were apprehended for murder.

Other factors that can be associated directly to the social environment are the child mistreatment, domestic violence, and exposure to emotional harm. Research conducted on several criminals showed that, adults’ behavior to abandon their children will cause these children to become criminals, where they would be sexually harassed and emotionally harmed (Sammons, 2009). This is what happened in Aileen life; first she lacked a man in her life where her father left her mother when she was pregnant. Secondly, her grandfather threw her out of his house opting to live in bushes. All these caused emotional imbalances in her life, which in turn led her to reject her own child, and eventually becoming a ruthless serial killer.

During her trial period, which happened in 1992, Aileen was convicted with two counts of murder. A mental assessment indicated that she was extremely unstable. Furthermore, there were reports that she had doubtful behavioral disorder, and aggressive behavioral disorder. This was mostly attributed to the traumatic life she had undergone since when she was young. Further, Aileen fired her representatives in court and she confessed that she killed six men, and added that she would kill again because she hated life.

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According to Reuband (2013), absence of development personas is directly associated with the conduct as children transit from puberty on to parenthood. People with behavioral disorder will exhibit the signs of hostility, property routing, dishonesty, and rule destruction, as well as ferocity against work mates, associates, and families(Reuband, 2013). This was evident when Aileen fired all her lawyers, which would be associated with experiences she had when she was pregnant, and this was the period from puberty to adulthood.

On the other hand, psychopathy is a general term that is used to describe a person who has characteristic traits that usually leads them to commit criminal activity. according to Pardini et al. (2014), it is generally associated with the feeling of blame or regret, satisfaction from illegal activities, the incompetence to make accurate extensive decisions, insincere attraction, and nonexistence of long term affiliation. Psychopathy can also be used to describe the antisocial behavior that is exhibited in individuals who find themselves in trouble not for the benefit of themselves or profiting from the punishments given, or for the group they are loyal to. They are often heartless and self-indulgent, displaying clear emotional irresponsibility, with deficiency of sense of accountability, privation of decision, and a skill to explain their deeds so that it seems acceptable, sensible, and right (Pardini, Raine, Erickson, & Loeber, 2014). An assessment of Aileen behavior, one can argue that she was a psychopath because she exhibited characteristics such as:

Shallow and insincere appeal: This is the tendency of an individual to be fascinating, attractive, amiable, smooth, and vocally superficial. When someone has psychopathic appeal he/she is not scared to say whatsoever.  A psychopath certainly not gets tongue-tamed. They have unrestrained themselves from the communal resolutions in regard to adopting turns in their speech. This is evident when Aileen clearly admits that she killed the six men. Afterwards she declared that she would kill again because she hated life. This is a clear indication that she was not afraid of the judgment of the court. She would go ahead to fire her lawyers stating their incompetence while she wanted to accept the judgment(Lee & Choi, 2014).

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Impressive pride: A wholly exaggerated opinion of one’s capabilities and self-esteem, self-confident, prejudiced, boastful, a bigmouth. Psychopaths are proud people who have faith in their abilities as being superior to anybody else. When Aileen was sentenced to death, she said that she was going to come with Jesus. She further asserted that she will be with God and all the angles and this demonstrates her pride.

Cruelty and lack of empathy:  A psychopathic individuals have the inadequacy of feelings toward people in general. They are mostly cold to their parents, children, wives, husbands, and close relatives. This is because they perceive their relatives and close friends as enemies to their progress. In Aileen case, she was very cold towards her child and she left the child without any care who was afterward adopted by foster parents.

Immoral sexual activities: A diversity of short-lived, insincere affairs, many relationships, and an unselective variety of erotic companions; the upkeep of numerous relationships at a go; a past of efforts to force others to involve themselves sexual activities. In Aileen’s life, she was involved in sexually oriented activities. She was a commercial sex worker who would even kill for the money earned in the business. Some of the crimes that, Aileen was arrested for were as a result of killing her partners in the sex oriented business(Lee & Choi, 2014).

Impulsivity: This behavior characterized by having the weakness in avoiding doing immoral activities. Psychopaths will always find themselves doing more than one antisocial behavior. For Aileen, she was arrested for more than five instances. She was arrested after threatening a driver with a gun requesting for $200. She was also arrested for found in possession of 20 pistols and six counts of murder cases. 

Criminal flexibility : A variety of kinds of illicit offenses, irrespective if the individual has been detained or sentenced for the offenses; taking a boastful sentiments that show lack of mercy even after doing an action which would warranted arrest. Throughout her life, Aileen was not sorry about committing the crimes she committed. When she was about to be punished through death, she declared that she will be back. This shows that she was not regretting about having committed the crimes and the actions to sentence to death. Juvenile felony: This behavior is exhibited by individuals who are between the ages of 13-18. The individuals in this category will boast about the crimes done in public without fear. For Aileen, she was 13 years when she was arrested in possession with fake bank checks. This demonstrates her courage in committing offenses even at a young age.

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  1. Broomfield, N., & Churchill, J. (2004). Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer. Optimum Releasing.
  2. Lee, J.-L., & Choi, K. (2014). Serial murder: An exploration and evaluation of theories and perspectives. American International Journal of Contemporary Research, 4(3), 99–106.
  3. Paoli, L. (2014). The Oxford handbook of organized crime. Oxford Handbooks.
  4. Pardini, D. A., Raine, A., Erickson, K., & Loeber, R. (2014). Lower amygdala volume in men is associated with childhood aggression, early psychopathic traits, and future violence. Biological Psychiatry, 75(1), 73–80.
  5. Reuband, K.-H. (2013). Criminology and Sociology. MONATSSCHRIFT FUR KRIMINOLOGIE UND STRAFRECHTSREFORM, 96(2–3), 140–152.
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