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Neurobiological Determinism: Human Freedom of Choice and Criminal Responsibility

NCJ Number
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology Volume: 56 Issue: 2 Dated: April 2012 Pages: 174-190
Frank Urbaniok; Arja Laubacher; Judith Hardegger; Astrid Rossegger; Jerome Endrass; Konstantin Moskvitin
Date Published
April 2012
17 pages
This study examined the argument that criminal behavior is generally caused by neurobiological deficits.
Several authors have argued that criminal behavior is generally caused by neurobiological deficits. This assumption not only questions the concept of free will and a person's responsibility for his or her own actions but also the principle of guilt in criminal law. When critically examining the current state of research, it becomes apparent that the results are not sufficient to support the existence of a universally valid neurobiological causality of criminal behavior. Moreover, the assumption of total neurobiological determination of human behavior and the impossibility of individual responsibility are characterized by both faulty empiricism and methodical misconceptions. The principle of relative determinism and the analysis of the offender's behavior at the time of the offense thus remain the central and cogent approach to the assessment of criminal responsibility. (Published Abstract)