Do people inherit criminal tendencies, or are they taught those behaviors?

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  1. Marcy Goodfleisch profile image96
    Marcy Goodfleischposted 4 years ago

    Do people inherit criminal tendencies, or are they taught those behaviors?

    Is the tendency toward violent crime an inherited trait, a learned trait, or something other than that? Is it nature, or nurture?

  2. christin53 profile image83
    christin53posted 4 years ago

    I do believe criminal tendencies are learnt, but I also think some people turn to crime and violence easier than others so maybe it was always in them and was brought out by those around them.

  3. ChristinS profile image49
    ChristinSposted 4 years ago

    I think both nature and nurture apply in most cases.  There are a lot of people who are influenced by having criminal elements in their family, but then there are others who turn to crime not because of how they were raised or influenced, but something else drives it.

  4. Zelkiiro profile image94
    Zelkiiroposted 4 years ago

    Personality is inherent--you can't be taught what kind of person you're going to be. You can be taught good morals or bad behaviors, but you can't dictate personality.

    Someone who is predisposed to bad behavior could turn out to be a thief or murderer if raised in a bad environment, or simply a shiftless lazy bum if raised in a good environment. Likewise, someone predisposed to good behavior might become a hard working and honest person if raised in a good environment, or a vigilante if raised in a bad environment.

    Both nature and nurture are responsible for what people become. Anyone who tells you it's entirely one or the other is lying to you.

  5. profile image0
    Fire8stormposted 4 years ago

    There is growing evidence that some criminals can have genes which may pre-dispose them to be more violent or aggressive than others.  Equally, neuroscience studies are reporting patterns of low activity in the frontal cortex of the brain, which controls our impulses, emotions and decision making, with those who commit crime and possible differences in brain structure, such as the amygdala, which can be smaller in those who are prone to aggression and violence. 

    Saying all that, social and psychological factors are also very important in how a person will behave.  Upbringing, experience, abuse, mental health, substance misuse and socioeconomic status along with their general environment are all significant factors which affect why an individual behaves in a certain way, including carrying out criminal activity.

    I would say it is a complex mix of biological factors which may increase the likelihood of an individual committing violent crime, and social factors which can make an individual more prone to be involved in crime.  I think what is important also is human agency and free will.  All action and behaviour at the end of the day has an aspect of choice in there, it just may be that for some, that choice is harder than for others.

  6. Sri T profile image76
    Sri Tposted 4 years ago

    No infant is a criminal. Someone instills right and wrong in children. It is natural for a child to go astray out of desires, rebellion or curiosity. He doesn't really have logic and reason developed. The ego wants what it wants. If a person does not go along with the moral training of parents, schools or society, they discover a certain freedom to have whatever they want. That desire or freedom to them includes criminal behavior. There are two types of people. Those who know what they are doing is wrong but don't care and those who have a complex mental or medical issue that is just out of control. The second one may not be inheirited, but may be due to a warped mind. Their parents could be very normal.

  7. DDE profile image26
    DDEposted 4 years ago

    Most people follow in their steps of their parents and by that information it shows me they do inherit these criminal tendencies from family.

  8. profile image78
    wba108@yahoo.composted 4 years ago

    I've read that the greatest determinant of criminal behavior is leaned behavior. Most criminals come under the influence of other criminals during a formative period in there lives, whether it be through the influence of family or friends.

    No doubt genetics and personality play a role also but to a lesser extent.

  9. DC Ziese profile image89
    DC Zieseposted 4 years ago

    I think, overall, a tendency toward violent crime is a learned trait, whether from parents or peers. Free will is a large factor. To commit violent crimes is a matter of choice. For example, a young man can be witness to his father frequently abusing his mother. And that young man has a choice to either continue the cycle of abuse, or to not become an abuser. An exception could be a person with inherent mental and/or emotional imbalances, where morals, conscience, and autonomy may be impaired.

  10. CrescentSkies profile image85
    CrescentSkiesposted 4 years ago

    Some people are born with traits that predispose them towards crime. But just because they have those traits doesn't mean that they will become criminals.

    A person born with every possible trait that would predispose them to being a hardened criminal, as unlikely on an astronomical level as that is, can grow up to be a good person if their parents properly teach them and keep them away from bad influences or outright teach them to reject bad influences.

    So I think it's a combination of both but that nurture plays a much stronger role in it.

  11. Writer Fox profile image49
    Writer Foxposted 4 years ago

    Is the tendency toward violent crime an inherited trait, a learned trait, or something other than that? Is it nature, or nurture? I vote for "something other than that." 

    Criminal behavior is a matter of choice.  People choose what they want to do.  In Brazil, Sailson Jose das Gracas admitted to killing 41 people "for the fun of it." “At 17, I killed the first woman and that gave me a buzz. I kept on doing it and I enjoyed it,” he said.

    In Florida, 15-year-old Konrad Schafer told officers he thought it would be "fun" to shoot a person. And that's just what he did.

    To say that such decisions are 'inherited' or 'learned' gives an excuse for violent criminal behavior.  There is no excuse.

  12. Diana Lee profile image83
    Diana Leeposted 22 months ago

    We can be pressured into doing many things we aren't normally known for doing. Anger management comes easier for some people than others. Mental health could very well be a factor when it comes to violent crimes and controlling tempers. If that is the case, mental health more than likely was inherited.


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