Risk-Taking, Antisocial Behavior, and Life Histories
This chapter examines the ultimate causes of risk-taking and anti-social behavior. It begins by describing three general developmental pathways to anti-social tendencies. It then introduces life history analysis to provide a framework for ultimate explanatory questions about the development of both general risk-taking and anti-social tendencies. In particular, it explores the notion of risky and anti-social behaviors as adapted responses to particular conditions encountered by individuals during their lifetimes; “adapted,” meaning selected over generations because of a positive impact on fitness, regardless of current fitness effects. The chapter describes fundamental crossroads all organisms must face—those having to do with growth, maintenance, and reproduction—Sand examines how these choices are linked to the three developmental pathways. It concludes with an application of life history analysis to a contemporary criminological phenomenon, the sudden drop in rates of risk-taking and criminal behavior in the 1990s.
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