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Hugo Münsterberg's Psychology and LawA Historical and Contemporary Assessment$
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Brian H. Bornstein and Jeffrey Neuschatz

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190696344

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190696344.001.0001

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The Prevention of Crime

The Prevention of Crime

(p.209) 10 The Prevention of Crime
Hugo Münsterberg's Psychology and Law

Brian H. Bornstein

Jeffrey S. Neuschatz

Oxford University Press

In his final chapter, Münsterberg moves from the psychological questions of earlier chapters to the questions of how to prevent crime and whether criminals are “born” or “made.” The psychology of crime, with its implications for prevention, treatment, and punishment, is a large question that continues to be of interest to psychologists, sociologists, criminologists, and policymakers. This chapter focuses on the two main issues that Münsterberg raises: the “nature-versus-nurture” question regarding criminality and the related question of criminal responsibility. Research shows that criminal behavior, especially for crimes involving violence, has significant biological as well as environmental components. Both biological and environmental factors have implications for criminal responsibility—if one commits a crime because his brain or history of conditioning predisposed him to it, should he be held accountable for it? This chapter discusses questions related to criminal responsibility in the context of the relevant legal standards and psychological research.

Keywords:   Lombroso, genetic basis, twin studies, limbic system, antisocial behavior, biological–environmental interactions

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