By Brooke Cooper, Criminal Justice
Advisor: J.C Barnes
Abstract: In 2003, the Human Genome Project identified the complete DNA sequence of humans. Later, there was a search of a "crime gene" that was thought to be the cause of one's criminal behavior. No evidence of a single gene that caused this behavior was found, but it was discovered that multiple genes operating on the expression of certain behavior (e.g. antisocial behavior) can cause criminal behavior. There have been many occasions where the genetic makeup of a defendant has been examined during court to identify and associate certain behaviors with criminal behavior. The examination of the genetic makeup has been used to determine culpability and thus severity of the sentence. As the science has progressed, many individuals still find it hard to believe that genetics and criminal behavior are associated with one another. The aim of this project is to measure the beliefs of criminal justice students attending the University of Cincinnati about the correlation between genetics and criminal behavior. Participants will take an anonymous web-based survey in which they will answer five Likert-type questions based on a vignette that will determine whether they believe genetics influence crime.