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Are there biosocial origins for antisocial behavior?
Date:2/21/2012

HUNTSVILLE, TX (Feb. 21, 2012)-- An assistant professor at Sam Houston State University, College of Criminal Justice is working to unlock the mysteries surrounding the role that genetics and environmental influences play on criminal and antisocial behavior.

"Biosocial research is a multi-disciplinary way of studying antisocial behavior," said Dr. Brian Boutwell. "It involves aspects of behavioral genetics, neuroscience, evolutionary biology and developmental psychology. Additionally, it incorporates different analytical techniques and research methods to examine criminal and antisocial behaviors."

For centuries now, many scholars have pointed to the role that biological factors play in sculpting human behavior. The incorporation of biology, however, into the study of criminal behaviors remains in its infancy and on the fringes of criminology. Dr. Boutwell specializes in this emerging area of research and has used it in recent studies examining corporal punishment, rape, stalking and IQ.

In an article recently published in the journal Aggressive Behavior, Dr. Boutwell examined the relationship between genetic risk factors for antisocial behavior and the use of corporal punishment in childhood. While prior research has linked the use of corporal punishment with aggression, psychopathology, and criminal involvement, Boutwell explores why not all children who are spanked develop such tendencies.

The study, co-authored by Drs. Courtney Franklin (SHSU), J.C. Barnes (The University of Texas at Dallas) and Kevin M. Beaver (Florida State University), suggested that genetic risk factors conditioned the effects of spanking on antisocial behavior. Specifically, children who possessed a genetic predisposition for antisocial behavior appeared to be most susceptible to the negative influences of spanking. Interestingly, this gene-environment interaction appeared to be especially important for male participants and not female child
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Contact: Beth Kuhles
kuhles@shsu.edu
936-294-4425
Sam Houston State University
Source:Eurekalert

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