'It's both nature and nurture' - Early life can have a big influence on killers, claims criminologist James Treadwell

'It's both nature and nurture' - Early life can have a big influence on killers, claims criminologist James Treadwell

How much do genetics influence killers?

Friday, April 29, 2016

Criminologist Dr James Treadwell claims it's not genetics alone that creates killers.

Recent research into whether people can be 'born killers', claims there are certain genetic triggers which could create a murderer.

In the brains of violent criminals, scientists found similar chromosomal abnormalities and less grey matter (a component in the central nervous system) in varying areas. Also present in several was a gene named the 'warrior gene', thought to impact psychopathy.

Treadwell, however, course director of MA applied criminology at Birmingham City University, believes killers are influenced by many factors.

"It's both nature and nurture together," he told Julia Hartley-Brewer. "Given the right circumstances and the right or wrong conditions, just about any human being can kill."

He pointed out criminals who commit the most violent crimes are often found to have similar problems in their upbringing.

"What you often find is very traumatic early lives," Treadwell added. "It's inexorably connected with nurture."

He also described other characteristics of psychopathy which can actually have a positive impact on individual lives.

"Lack of empathy is tremendously useful in the world of business," he explained. "Large numbers of people who manage big corporations share this trait. 

"The difference is they don't necessarily have the same problematic life."