Is it genetic, hormonal, biological, or cultural conditioning? Is it a genetic predisposition that begins to be manifested as a child grows up? Are there any particular factors influencing criminal minds? Are criminals raised or born? Do criminals come from criminal families? Is there a biological clock ticking in a persons mind that makes that person become a criminal?.
Whenever a particularly violent or grisly crime grabs the headlines, most people have the same thoughts. Are criminals raised or born? Throughout history, social scientists, physicians, researchers and psychologists have struggled to answer these questions. In Medieval times, it was believed that demons and evil spirits of all types and forms took possession of the person, thus causing bad behavior. The ancient Romans believed that human behavior ebbed and flowed with the phases of the moon. The word 'lunacy,' which is derived from the Latin word 'luna' for moon, reflected that belief. .
Criminal psychologists have tested out a number of excuses for criminal's behaviour. Henry Lee Lucas blamed his upbringing; others like Jeffrey Dahmer say that they were born with a 'part' of them missing. Ted Bundy claimed pornography made him do it. Bobby Joe Long said a motorcycle accident made him hypersexual and eventually caused him to become a serial lust killer. One of the most well known psychopathic killers, John Wayne Gacy, turn the blame around and boast that the victims deserved to die. .
In the past scientists and theorists have used all sorts of explanations to explain the pathological aspects that make up the profile of a killer. Henry Goddard conducted a research project in 1912 that became published as "The Kallikak Family: A Study in the Hereditary of Feeble-Mindedness".
Studies of criminal families, like the Kallikaks, captured the imagination of the public who began to believe that there could be a 'criminal' gene that was being passed from one generation to the next.