- Revisiting Lombroso
- Biology and Crime
- Parenting and Crime
- The Psychology of Criminal Conduct
- Risk Factors and Crime
- Social Learning and Crime
- Hirschi’s Criminology
- General Strain and Urban Youth Violence
- Social Support and Crime
- Life-Course-Persistent Offenders
- Change in Offending across the Life Course
- Two Approaches to Developmental/Life-Course Theorizing
- Peer Networks and Crime
- Contemporary Gang Ethnographies
- Girls, Friends, and Delinquency
- Gender and Theories of Delinquency
- Neighborhood Ties, Control, and Crime
- Community, Inequality, and Crime
- Street Culture and Crime
- The Code of the Suburb and Drug Dealing
- Social Institutions and Crime
- The Market Economy and Crime
- Immigration and Crime
- Choosing Street Crime
- Choosing White-Collar Crime
- Emotions, Choice, and Crime
- Routine Activity Theory
- The Theory of Target Search
- Crime Places and Place Management
- Multilevel Criminal Opportunity
- Coercion and Crime
- Green Criminology
- Perceptual Deterrence Theory
- The Effects of Imprisonment
- Coercive Mobility
Abstract and Keywords
According to the rational choice theory, criminals, like all people, are rational actors and their criminal behavior is the result of rational choices that they make in light of situational contingencies. These ideas are of interest to criminological theory for a number of reasons. For example, the rational choice perspective suggests a very simple but very general principle to explain criminal behavior: that individuals always attempt to behave so as to maximize the expected benefits in relation to the costs of their actions. This article advances the rational choice perspective by looking at recent developments in the biology and sociology of emotions. Rationality is an important, but not the only or most important, aspect of human behavior. The article first examines how emotions have been conceptualized and used in standard criminological theories. It then describes the biological bases of emotions and the implications of how the brain works for rational choice theory. Finally, it argues that advances in neuroscience should be incorporated into criminology.
Michael L. Benson, PhD, is Professor of Criminology and Director of the Center for Criminal Justice Research at the University of Cincinnati.
Tara Livelsberger is a doctoral student in Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati.
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