SAGE Journal Articles

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Journal Article 1: Ellis, L. (2005). A theory explaining biological correlates of criminality. European Journal of Criminology, 2, 287-315.

Abstract: Despite major advances in understanding the biological basis of human behaviour, the most popular theories of criminal behaviour remain restricted to those that consider only learning and social environmental variables. All of these strictly environmental theories have difficulty explaining why neurological, hormonal, and other biological factors would be related to criminal behaviour, yet evidence for links between such biological factors and criminality has grown. This article puts forward a theory that takes account of biological as well as environmental factors, and predicts that variables such as age, gender and social status will be associated with offending probabilities. It is argued that male sex hormones operating on the human brain increase the probability of competitive/victimizing behaviour. This type of behaviour (or behavioural tendency) is hypothesized to exist along a continuum, with ‘crude’ (criminal) forms at one end and ‘sophisticated’ (commercial) forms at the other. Individuals with the greatest capacities to learn and plan will move rapidly after puberty from criminal to non-criminal forms of competitive/victimizing behaviour. The theory predicts among other things that serious criminality will be concentrated in adolescent and young adult males of low social status. Evidence is reviewed on links between criminality and various biological variables, including testosterone, mesomorphy, maternal smoking during pregnancy, hypoglycemia, epilepsy, altered heart rate and skin conductivity, cortisol, serotonin, monoamine oxidase, and certain brainwave patterns.

Journal Article 2: Donner, C. M., Jennings, W. G., & Banfield, J. (2014). The general nature of online and off-line offending among college students. Social Science Computer Review, 33, 663-679.

Abstract: While online offending has been found to be a specialized phenomenon, most literature on criminality indicates that offending behavior over the life course is of a general nature, which is consistent with Gottfredson and Hirschi’s general theory of crime. Utilizing data collected from a large sample of 502 undergraduate college students, this study examined the extent to which college students commit off-line offending as compared with online offending. Results from a series of bivariate and multivariate analyses indicated support for conceptualizing online offending as part of a more general offending repertoire rather than as a specialty. Detailed findings, study limitations, and implications for both criminal career research and the specialization debate are also discussed.