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Is Criminology A Science?

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The term criminology was formulated in (1885 by Raffaele Garofalo) who was an Italian professor. According to Edwin Sutherland and Donald Cressey, criminology is a body of knowledge regarding crime as a social event also its an action, toward the breaking of laws. Moreover, there is also argument whether criminology is a science or not( between Edwin H. Sutherland and Donald Cressy). Criminology relates to science because criminals commit crime due to the environment or because of their genetics.

Criminology has wide implications for society, and affects many aspects of our lives and therefore wider knowledge on causes and prevention of criminal behaviour can positively contribute to individual lives and to society more holistically. Albert Bandura’s social learning theory clearly demonstrates the role of imitation and role models in influencing our behaviour (1). This can then be linked to Sutherland’s differential association theory, to explain offending behaviour as a product of our environment and exposure to pro-criminal attitudes and how our interactions and associations with others play a significant role in the type of behaviour we chose to display (2). Additionally, exploring Skinner’s operant Conditioning theory highlighted the role of consequences of behaviour and how this can either weaken or strengthen actions (3).

Such theories emphasise the role of the environment in shaping our behaviour however, it is important to take an electric approach to gain a better understanding of causes of specific actions be it prosocial behaviour or criminal behaviour therefore, criminology is science and has an affect on individuals and this has a negative or positive impact on the society. Additionally, researching Raine’s ( Brain abnormalities in murderers indicated by positron emission tomography 1997) work, on neural explanations of criminal behaviour opened a new way of thinking to why people become criminals. His work focuses on neural abnormalities where he found an 11% reduction the volume of grey matter in the prefrontal cortex of criminals compared to a control group.

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One way that, criminology is a science because the biological theories of crime emphasises a general way to evaluate a problem rather than examining a problem by guessing or paranormal way. Ibn al-Haytham (965-1039), developed a biological way that explains crime and criminal behaviour of an individual also, the scientist Iraqi-born wrote a book about explanation of how and why the problem is a issue and the affect on the individuals behaviour. (4). The scientific method in the hard or natural sciences has been used to analyse and solve issues to explain how social problems develop and has an affect on an individuals such as crime and criminality and to understand difference between criminal and non-criminal individuals.

The biological approach also emphasises that criminology is a science. Hans Eysenck believed that the biological theory explains the difference between criminal and non criminal behaviour of an individual, he argues that criminal behaviour happens because of their choices and biological genetics. Hans Eysenck (5) found three dimensions which were called personality traits. These personality traits helps someone understand if an individual is likely to commit crime. The first personality trait was called extroversion-introversion, this dimension is found in everyone it explains how social and shy or quiet an individuals is. Extroversion is also stability of inhibition and excitation which demonstrates how someones brain work and how it starts taking action and stopping it from doing something therefore if an individual wanted to commit crime their brain first get in to alert and want to do it however there’s also other side of the brain, which is inhibition which helps the idea settle down and delay the action happening which will make an individual have second thoughts of doing the crime. However, the choice is always up to the individual, they will make a choice of that two balanced thoughts whether its right or wrong. The second personality trait is neurotics helps an individual to express their feelings and emotions. The research that H. Eysenck made demonstrates that people with neuroticism is more like to be relaxed or nervous therefore a lot of people are more likely to agonise from the nervous disorder. People that fells in to neurotic category is more likely to use their thoughts and emotions to control their actions therefore sympathy nervous system has big impact on their behaviour. If an individual is nervous and fearful they will be more less likely to commit crime because, their emotions will take over their brain and not make to action happen. Additionally the last one is psychoticism ( Hans Eysenck 1966). H. Eysenck added the third trait later, depending on he’s research there was also people that didn’t fall in to other traits such as, aggressive or lonely people. They are more likely to commit crime because they will have problems with controlling their anger and lack of communications with other people therefore they will have nothing to lose. They will risk everything and do an inappropriate behaviour.

In conclusion, Hans Eysenck’s ( 1966) trait approach theory emphasise that criminology is a science, which is scientifically proofed. If an individual has a criminal act, this will happen because of their genetics and personality. As H. Eysenck explained that personality traits has important part of an individual’s actions. Also, a criminal behaviour can be encouraged by psychoanalytically this demonstrates the experiences from the individual’s past which will affect on their behaviour in a positive or negative way.

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Is Criminology A Science? (2022, February 24). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from
“Is Criminology A Science?” Edubirdie, 24 Feb. 2022,
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Is Criminology A Science? [Internet] Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 24 [cited 2023 Sept 28]. Available from:
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