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Who pioneered the Atavistic form?
Lombroso in 1876
From whom did Lombroso gain inspiration for his theory?
Darwin's theory of evolution
What did Lombroso suggest criminals were?
- Evolutionary throwbacks with particular primitive features
- A separate species with a primitive genetic form and behaviour, helpful for surviving in the wild but making it difficult for them to adapt to society
What characteristics did the atavist form possess?
- Sloping brow
- Large jaws
- High cheek bones
- Large ears
- Extra nipples
- Insensitive to pain
What characteristics did Lombroso suggest murderers possess?
- Cold, glassy, blood-shot eyes
- Curly, abundant hair
- Strong jaws
- Long ears
- Thin lips
What characteristics did Lombroso suggest sex offenders possess?
- Glinting eyes
- Thick lips
- Lots of hair
- Projecting ears
How is the mentality of an atavist different from that of the typical human?
- Incapable of distinguishing right from wrong
- No guilt or remorse is shown
- Possess no feeling for others
- Unable to form deep, meaningful, loving relationships
Which research supports the atavistic theory?
Lombroso's own study
What did Lombroso study and how big was his sample size?
- The proportions of 383 skulls of dead criminals
- The heads of 3839 living criminals
What percentage of criminal acts did Lombroso claim could be accounted for by atavistic characteristics
What aspect of Lombroso's theory was different than those before it
- Does not attribute criminal behaviour to wickedness due to lack of willpower
- Acknowledges that the cause of criminal behaviour cannot entirely be laid at the feet of the offender, this is more scientific and less moralistic
What did Lombroso's theory precede?
It was the forerunner to later biological theories such as genetics and neuropsysiology
What did Hollin argue in 1989
- Lombroso with some justification can be hailed as the father of modern criminology
- His later theories encompass three major strands of research- Biology, Environment and Psychology
What did Lombroso consider as well as biology?
Environmental factors make a significant contribution to the causes of some types of criminal behaviour
What did Lombroso say about prisons?
- They are criminal universities as they reinforce criminal tendencies
- Still maintained, however that people are born criminals
What criticisms can be made about the nature of atavism?
- Encourages the worst prejudices of stereotyping and has caused much embarrassment to criminologists
- Contributes to the belief that certain races are inferior
- Lead to discrimination, prejudice and possible eugenics
How does Lombroso's theory fail to consider the self fulfilling prophecy?
If we tell someone they will be a criminal from birth then they possibly will
How is Lombroso's view of female criminals unsubstantiated ?
- He stated that women were jealous, vengeful and capable of monstrous cruelty, Psychologically worse than men
- If this was the case, wouldn't crime rates be higher for females?
How can Lombroso's research methods be criticised?
- Was not very rigorous
- Did not use a control group to compare criminals to non criminals
- Makes it difficult to establish cause and effect
How can Lombroso be criticised in terms of cause and effect?
- Correlation does not prove causation
- It could be that poverty leads to facial defects rather than a criminal personality
What did Kurtzberg et al suggest in 1978
- People with unpleasant appearances may become criminals because they are rejected by others and turn to crime.
- In Kurtzberg's study it was found that prisoners that were given plastic surgery were less likely to reoffend
What did goring find in 1913?
After comparing the appearances of 3000 convicts to a control group, little support was found for Lombroso's theory
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