Deviant behavior can be described as:”any behavior that is contrary to the dominant norms of society”(Sociology, n.d.). The theories related to the root of people’s deviant behavior incorporate sociological, psychological and biological explanations. This paper will be focussing on the psychological and biological issues.
One of the main biological theories regards the deviant behavior and criminal activity of a particular category of people as a type of health problem which has been brought on by pathological factors. These people are regarded as having biological differences to those who are not criminals as, and because the former have these abnormal biological traits they are sometimes termed “born criminals”. The philosophy is that these types of criminals are physically and mentally inferior; and this incapacity means that sufferers are not able to adhere to the normal rules of society, so they find themselves on a pathway to criminal behavior (Sociology, n.d.).
Another biological theory is the Y chromosome theory. This is the opinion that people exhibiting criminal behavior have an abnormal chromosomal construction which features XYY, instead of the normal XY chromosome construction. And it is deemed that the extra Y chromosome generates a powerful compulsion to carry out crimes. A number of research studies have shown that the percentage of the male prison population carrying an XYY chromosome construction is greater than the percentage of male prisoners without this abnormality, although this is not supported by all studies (Sociology, n.d.).
As our physical existence is reliant on a large number of factors which have a knock-on effect on the working of our brains and emotional responses, a number of psychological theories have been put forward. Biochemical theories relating to a person’s inclination towards criminal and deviant behavior are concerned with: drug use, such as the negative responses experienced by some individuals to Prozac, alcohol abuse, low levels of serotonin in the brain, hypoglycemia, deficiency in certain nutrients, and allergies (Raine, 1995).
In summary, there are a substantial number of biological and psychological theories, and it is possible that criminal deviance cannot be solely due to one particular condition or cause (Raine, 1995).
- Raine (1995). Cambridge Journals Behavioral and Brain Sciences. Volume 18 / Special Issue 03 / September 1995, pp 571- 573
- Sociology (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://sociology.about.com/od/Deviance/a/Biological-Explanations-Of-Deviant-Behavior.htm (June 28, 2015).