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date: 24 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Evolutionary criminology is part of a broader biosocial approach to criminology. The evolutionary perspective can help organize the hodgepodge of extant, and often contradictory, criminological theories in a coherent way, thus providing a more robust explanation of criminality. This chapter demonstrates the relevance of evolutionary theory to criminology, discusses the evolutionary origins of both prosocial and antisocial traits, and shows that evolutionary theory is invaluable to understanding two key issues that have been impervious to solution using the standard social science model—the sex ratio in criminal offending and the age–crime curve. The chapter also provides a discussion on the distal causes of traits conducive to criminal behavior as well as a Darwinian explanation of why humans can be altruistic toward some humans yet victimize others.

Keywords: evolutionary theory, evolutionary psychology, criminology, criminal offending, biosocial criminology, altruism, parenting effort, mating effort, age–crime curve, neuroscience

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