What encourages a person or individual to take place in a crime or commit a crime? Is it because they have low intelligence (IQ) or is it their environment causing them to participate in criminal activity. Criminologists ask these questions every day, they tend to try to find out the underlining factor of why a person decides to commit crime. Since every individual is made up of different genetics and live different lives, it is impossible to narrow down on reason that causes individuals to act out in such behavior. Criminologist have figured out two main causes of crime behavior.
These two causes are nature and nurture. Two very conversational topics seem to be the best reasoning to why individuals have criminal like behaviors. “For decades psychologists have argued over these two umbrella terms and what they signify. You have the more scientifically driven who place their belief in nature, in genetics and biology, as most significant and influential driving force” (Nature). Scientist believe nature decides it, but this is because research on nurture is not as easy to perform. Does nature, which is your ancestry and genetics, play a bigger role? Or does nurture, which is ones environment and how they were raised trump nature?
Nature and nurture are both great directions in terms of thinking why crime is committed and the behavior that goes along with it. Although nature does play a role in who someone is, I do not believe that genetics in most cases influences bad behavior. Yes, someone can be the grandson of a famous serial killer, but does that make them a serial killer as well? I do not think so, but I do believe that their environment and how they are raised can influence it. People control their own lives, unless they are brutally abused.
Someone whose father was a serial killer, can grow up and realize that what their father did was bad can make the decision to make better decisions. Now, if that child is abused and mentally unstable then we can say their environment has changed their behavior. But I believe that one can decide whether they are going to act in fallacious behavior or stay on the right path. “Nurture theorists discredited the notion that people commit crimes because they have low IQs. Instead, they postulated that environmental stimulation from parents, relatives, social contacts, schools, peer groups, and innumerable others create a child’s IQ level and that low IQs result from an environment that also encourages delinquent and criminal behavior” (Siegel).
All these factors play a key role in explaining why an individual would act in criminal behavior. Many people may say inmates in prison do not have good behavior or a right mind set to be in the world. IS it right to say this is because of genetics or nature? I think that those inmates never had schooling or were taught. Some of them were in jail since the beginning. Maybe they are in there because they had to resort to crime to support their family and they got caught before they could ever go to school. Nurture explains why there are many reasons that these inmates have low IQs or are not the smartest.
Nurture also creates a strong argument when debating if nature or nurture shapes a person’s personality. When someone experiences situations that others cannot imagine, it impacts their entire life. They might either turn to crime to help solve the problem or even turn a new leaf and start all over again. For example, a father who loses both his wife and son in a car accident feels alone and desperate. His wife supported his family while he took care of the child. With her gone he might not have enough money to provide himself with food and shelter. Now he feels like he needs to turn to crime to get money and live.
Another outcome of this situation is that he gets past the pain and it makes him a better man. He gets a job and starts making good money, while helping other people go through hard losses like his. Either way, nurture or the life experience he went through changed his personality whether it was good or bad. As a child of a mass murder, people portray that child as having the same thought process and feelings of their relative, but it is just a label. Going through that life experience might make that child’s personality change. When they grow up, they might become a police officer so that they can help others not be victims. When people experience things, it makes an effect on who they are. It will not change the fact of who they are or how they look, but it will change their view point on life and thinking.
Based on all the factors I believe that nurture influences our behavior more than nature. When people are born, they have a mother and father. In some cases they might not, but that aspect of life will have an influence on who the person grows up to be. “Nurture is generally taken as the influence of external factors after conception e.g. the product of exposure, experience and learning on an individual” (McLeod). When speaking about what a person has been exposed too, can mean many things. Some examples are drug addicted parents, gangs, or criminal behavior.
Also where a person is raised can be a very important factor. I believe that all these can have an effect on an individual’s behavior. A lot of factors decide who a person can be, whether its nature or nurture, everyone is different and are raised differently. So when asked “What influences behavior more, Nature or Nurture?”, it’s hard to say. Both nature and nurture are factors in behavior, but deciding which is more important is hard because everyone comes from a different background and class. When calculating to see if nurture is more important than nature, I think the deciding influences are how and where an individual grew up.