Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: November 23, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412959193 | Print ISBN: 9781412959186 | Online ISBN: 9781412959193| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Neurology and Crime
Yaling Yang & Adrian Raine
The beginning of the search for the neurological basis of crime can be traced back to Cesare Lombroso, an Italian criminologist and physician who provided one of the most influential arguments that criminals are born with a nature favorable to crime. Although no direct means exists to examine in vivo the brain anatomy of criminals at the time, Lombroso managed to identify several distinct physical features, which he called “stigmata.” This included a slanting forehead, long/no ear lobes, a large jaw with no chin, heavy supraorbital ridges, excessive/absent hair on the body, and an extreme sensitivity/insensitivity to pain. According to Lombroso, the possession of multiple physical abnormalities indicated that the individual was less developed, a “born criminal,” and thus could not adjust to the rules of modern society. Although Lombroso's argument was less than sound, the idea that criminal behavior is influenced by biological predispositions has endured and gained significant ...