Learning Objectives

  1. Describe what distinguishes positivistic perspectives from the Classical/rational choice perspectives in terms of assumptions, concepts, and propositions.
  2. Explain how the early, pre-Darwinian theories, such as craniometry and phrenology, are different from (and similar to) later post-Darwinian theories, such as Lombroso’s theory of offending.
  3. Identify the key assumptions, propositions, and weaknesses of Lombroso’s theory of atavism and the born criminal.
  4. Explain the shift to more psychological areas, namely IQ testing, and how it affected the field in terms of policy and thinking about individuals’ risk for criminality.
  5. Evaluate the key propositions, concepts, and weaknesses of Sheldon’s body type theory, and how he measured the various body types of this perspective.