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Understanding the Origins of Crime

Griffith University

Understanding the Origins of Crime

Griffith University
Learn to understand criminal behaviour by looking at our evolutionary history and animal behaviour in general.

What's it about?

Criminologists, like scientists generally, agree that life resulted from a process of natural selection. But most do not use that information when studying what crime is and why it exists. In this course, you will learn the process of natural selection and how it can be used to make sense of criminal behaviour. We will use the theory of evolution to make sense of a broad range of crimes including several types of homicide, child abuse and neglect, spousal assault and group level aggression such as warfare, hooliganism, rioting, and gang fights.

What's involved?

  • Evolutionary Theory (8 videos, 7 quizzes, 1 assessment)
  • Families and crime (8 videos, 7 quizzes, 1 assessment)
  • “Status” homicides (9 videos, 8 quizzes, 1 assessment)
  • War in its natural context (9 videos, 8 quizzes, 1 assessment)

What will I learn?

  • What natural selection is and how to predict what it will do
  • The definition of “biological functionality” and some of the common misconceptions about it
  • Some of the basic lessons we can learn about our species and crime from an understanding of Darwinian theory
  • Why kin murder is so rare, but the reasons it does occur
  • Some of the reasons infanticide and child neglect occur
  • The origins of jealousy and its relationship to spousal homicides
  • The characteristics of a “typical” homicide
  • Why status is so important and how it relates to aggression
  • War and warriorship, and examples from across the animal kingdom
  • How natural selection rewards warfare
  • How pathogens relate to war in the modern world

This course requires approximately 2 - 4 hours of study per week, but can vary depending on the student. This includes watching videos, and taking quizzes and assessments. The total video time for this course is approximately 3 hours 7 minutes.

If you pass this course you'll receive a Certificate of Achievement. While this certificate isn't a formal qualification or credit, you can use it to demonstrate your interest in learning about this area to potential employers or educational institutions.

Where could this lead me?

If you're wondering what your future could look like in this area, here are some potential careers you could head towards.

  • Policing and profiling
  • Corrections officer
  • Regulatory law enforcement
  • Customs official
  • Criminal justice, prevention and corrections
  • Justice administration and policy
  • Community development & health
  • Military services
  • Legal secretary
  • Legal support officer
  • Assistant paralegal