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On the consequences of ignoring genetic influences in criminological research

J.C. Barnes, Brian B. Boutwell, Kevin M. Beaver, Chris L. Gibson and John P. Wright

Journal of Criminal Justice, 2014, vol. 42, issue 6, 471-482

Abstract: Many criminological scholars explore the social causes of crime while giving little consideration to the possibility that genetic factors underlie the observed associations. Indeed, the standard social science method (SSSM) assumes genetic influences do not confound the association between X and Y. Yet, a nascent stream of evidence has questioned the validity of this approach by revealing many criminological variables are at least partially affected by genetic influences. As a result, a substantial proportion of the literature may be misspecified due to uncontrolled genetic factors. No effort has been made to directly estimate the extent to which genetic confounding has biased the associations presented in criminological studies.

Date: 2014
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