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How Biochemical Conditions and Brain Activity are Linked to Crime Essay

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Updated: Sep 15th, 2022

A couple of decades ago, criminologists ignored the role that biochemical conditions and brain activity played in determining criminal tendencies towards certain individuals. A clique of them argued that an individual’s predisposition towards crime was strictly dictated by the environment in which he or she was brought up and or physical characteristics. However, recent studies suggest that there is a strong link between an individual’s biochemical makeup and brain activity and the tendency to engage in criminal activities.

The studies were initiated soon after the researchers realized that the environmental theory had serious limitations. It was observed that when a group of people was exposed to similar environmental pressures, only a few of them engaged in crime while the rest did not. Thus, bio-criminologists unanimously agreed that there were those biochemical factors that affected people’s behaviors and that there was a possible correlation between brain activity and violence.

Is it a probability or a fact that biochemical factors such as nutrition or allergies can cause an individual to engage in crime? The brain cannot function properly in the absence of mandatory levels of minerals including vitamins. During early childhood development, and inappropriate diet could lead to nutritional deficiencies for a child which in turn will result in serious behavioral, mental, and physical problems. Researchers observed that an improved diet improved a child’s concentration and overall cognitive abilities.

Such a child showed improved performance in school and showed very little or no delinquency. Furthermore, the researchers identified causes for cognitive difficulties, depression, and maniac disorders as a direct result of deficiencies of minerals such as peptides, calcium, sodium, potassium amino acids, and other essential nutrients. The foregoing mental problems were certain to increase an individual’s tendency towards engaging in violent behavior. It was also observed that insufficient or total lack of vitamins C, B6, and B3 caused people to engage in anti-social behavior (Waller, 2009).

A study conducted at a state penitentiary concluded that there was a direct correlation between violence and diets high in carbohydrates and sugar. The two interfered with a person’s normal behavior by increasing rates of aggression. In the penitentiary, the youths were unwittingly fed with a diet low on sugar and carbohydrates and the results were appalling. After some time, there was a 50% decline in violence among the youths being experimented on. Nevertheless, some studies suggested the contrary in that crime due to sugar and carbohydrate factors were certainly not serious and that some people became less aggressive when they took more of the two (Decker, 2007).

How a person’s brain metabolizes glucose can lead to antisocial behavior especially if there is an anomaly when sugar is taken. It is worth noting that apart from all other body organs, the brain is the only one that utilizes glucose to nurture all its energy needs. If glucose levels fall below essential levels required for the brain to function properly, an individual could develop a brain disorder called hypoglycemia. This condition is characterized by symptoms ranging from phobias, anxiety, mood swings, temper tantrums insomnia, and acute depression. Serious crimes such as rape, assault, suicide, and even homicide have been attributed to hypoglycemia. Moreover, studies have shown that most of the habitually violent inmates in penitentiaries suffered from hypoglycemia (Klein, 2006).

Why is it that men are more predisposed towards violence than women? The answer lies in hormones and neurotransmitters. Androgens are higher in men than they are in women thereby explaining why they are more violent. However, as they age, the levels of this hormone decline and so is their tendency towards engaging in violent behaviors. The adolescent stage is when the production of androgen is at its highest. Chemicals such as steroids artificially increase the level of this hormone in the human body.

High levels of androgen lead to aggressive behavior. One of the most common androgens (male hormones) is testosterone. Paradoxically speaking, medical intervention can expose female children at an early age to too much testosterone thereby making them more violent while on the other hand, male children may have their testosterone levels reduced through drugs during early stages thereby making them less aggressive. Androgens are known to cause brain seizures that can lead to increased temper. Other hormones like progesterone in females can lead to increased violence or antisocial behavior especially during menstruation when the levels are high (Waller, 2009).

Trouble arises whenever the human brain is affected by neuroallergies. This is certain to cause depression, aggression, and hyperactivity. When presented with negative stimuli, people suffering from near allergies are more likely to engage n violence. Neuroallergies are mostly caused by chocolate, eggs, milk, nuts, corn, etc. Studies show that rates of homicide are high in countries with lots of corn. The culprits often experience severe stress due to their brain’s reaction to allergy (Klein, 2006).

Aggressive and antisocial behavior among people can come about as a result of exposure to certain chemical elements in the environment e.g. mercury, food dye, artificial coloring, chlorine, copper, etc. Lead poisoning also causes violence. Studies have shown that areas with high rates of homicide and other forms of violence had a lot of lead in the air. Lead led to low levels of IQ among adolescents which caused them to be more violent. Such adolescents had concentration problems, were delinquent, aggressive, and had inadequate language skills due to high amounts of lead in their bones (Decker, 2007).

Due to space constraints, it would be difficult indeed to exhaust other different ways that are equally important in which biochemical conditions and brain activity are linked to crime in such a vivid detailed manner as would be necessary to completely inform the reader. To such an extent, the article will forthwith outline any other manner in which the foregoing factors are linked to crime and will leave it up to the reader to engage in further outside research in case he or she needed more information on the same.

Indeed, studies have shown that when electrical impulses given off by brainwaves (EEG or electroencephalograph) are higher than usual, this leads to abnormal activity of the brain and the victim is highly likely to engage in very serious violent crimes. Others include children whose brain is affected while still in the womb of mothers who took alcohol and other harmful substances. Such children show deviant behavior and are unable to fathom the long-term consequences of their reckless actions. Abnormalities in cerebral structure can also lead to episodes of violent rage. The affected individuals can either commit suicide or homicide. Finally, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD), brain tumors, brain injury, abnormal levels of neurotransmitters e.g. dopamine, serotonin, and brain structure are directly linked to crime (Klein, 2006).

References

Decker, S. (2007). Expand the use of police gang units. Criminology and Public Policy, 6 (4), 729–734.

Klein, M. (2006). Street Gang Patterns and Policies. Secaucus, NJ: Chart well Books, Inc.

Waller, I. (2009). Less Law, More Order. Westport, CT: Praeger.

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