Arousal Theory of Causation
The research done for this paper was conducted to explain the arousal theory and its relation to crime. The first section of research is to explain the arousal theory and the assumptions that can be concluded from the theory, as well as, explain the positivistic school of criminological thought. The second section is to tell observational support of the positivist school and describe studies done on delinquents to explain and support the arousal theory. The third section discusses the theory, how it explains all crime, and the specific crimes it most pertains to be about. The research presented is important to explaining that most crime is caused by the need for arousal rather than need to lower the levels of arousal. The more research conducted on the hormones and brain activity of delinquents will further support the arousal theory for almost every crime conducted by serial and first time criminals by explaining that most of these people have a resting arousal level that is lower than the optimal level for that individual.
Nature of Arousal Theory
The arousal theory suggests that aggressive and antisocial behavior stems from the individual having low levels of arousal and a need to stimulate stress in innovative ways to reach the optimum levels (Buitelaar, Van Engeland, Van Goozen, Mathys & Snoek, 2004). Hormonal reactions to the nervous system called neuroendocrine changes can be caused by the need for survival under a threat or in a stressful situation for any organism including humans and the display of response is dependent on the phenotypic level of reactivity (Boyce & Ellis, 2005). Every action can be seen as an event focused of attempting to obtain arousal because it has a positive outcome for the person trying to obtain the sensation (Cochran, Gove, Wilson & Wood, 1997).
The arousal theory is under the positivistic school of criminological thought. This criminological thought rejected Enlightenment thinkers’ idea that human behavior is the practice of free will and in every action taken people have scaled pleasure versus pain caused by the action, and believed more that crime is the effect caused by multiple biological, psychological, and sociological fundamental differences from non-criminals (Bohm & Haley, 2012, pp. 62-65). Positivistic theories of criminals’ biological differences originally only included the idea that criminals have distinct phenotypic characteristics and often a more mesomorphic body type that suggest they are predisposed to crime, and the idea that a criminal predisposition can be inherited genetically from parents, however none of the studies described could separate genetic and environmental influence enough for the results to be used as proof (Bohm & Haley, 2012, pp. 67-69). Improvements in biological science have proven more useful to the support of the positivistic school of criminological thought including greater understanding of the human brain and its limbic...