Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: June 02, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971928 | Print ISBN: 9781412950855 | Online ISBN: 9781412971928| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
r/K theory, derived from evolutionary biology, describes a continuum of reproduction strategies. Species on the r-strategy end of this continuum reproduce quickly, in large numbers, and spend little time nurturing their young, while K-strategy animals reproduce slowly, in low numbers per birthing event, and nurture their young carefully. Although humans are believed to be K-strategy animals on the whole, this theory has been applied to criminal behavior by assuming there is discernable variation in reproductive strategies within the human species itself. More specifically, criminal behaviors have been linked to a relativistic r-strategy within the continuum of human reproduction. Groups with more r-traits are postulated as being more likely to engage in crime. Empirically, the claims of r/K theory are difficult to prove and have caused a great deal of controversy with regard to racial applications to criminal behavior. Regular use of r/K theory to describe reproduction within evolutionary biology began ...