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The evolutionary basis of belonging: its relevance to denial of offending and labelling those who offend

The evolutionary basis of belonging: its relevance to denial of offending and labelling those who... PurposeThe adaptationist approach of evolutionary psychology provides a model of substantial scope for understanding the function of human behaviour, including harmful behaviour. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the evolutionary importance of social belonging, and also its relevance to why people deny stigmatised harmful behaviour, and the potential problems of labelling them by it.Design/methodology/approachThe paper takes the form of a discussion and professional opinion.FindingsEvolution reveals how natural selection has shaped the human nervous system for threat-detection and cooperation. It casts a light on why people convicted of harmful and stigmatised behaviour may hide, deny and lie as a means of limiting social devaluation and maintaining their fitness to belong in groups.Practical implicationsAmidst all our efforts as forensic practitioners to empower people to pro-socially reconnect and lead safer crime-free lives, endlessly associating them with their most unacceptable and harmful acts, might not help.Originality/valueEvolutionary forensic psychology and evolutionary criminology are sub-disciplines of science that are progressively emerging. They place the adaptationist approach front and centre in the study and theory of criminal behaviour. This paper aims to offer an example of this synergy, but with a specific focus on forensic practice itself. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Forensic Practice Emerald Publishing

The evolutionary basis of belonging: its relevance to denial of offending and labelling those who offend

Journal of Forensic Practice , Volume 21 (4): 10 – Nov 11, 2019

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References (70)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
2050-8794
DOI
10.1108/JFP-04-2019-0014
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposeThe adaptationist approach of evolutionary psychology provides a model of substantial scope for understanding the function of human behaviour, including harmful behaviour. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the evolutionary importance of social belonging, and also its relevance to why people deny stigmatised harmful behaviour, and the potential problems of labelling them by it.Design/methodology/approachThe paper takes the form of a discussion and professional opinion.FindingsEvolution reveals how natural selection has shaped the human nervous system for threat-detection and cooperation. It casts a light on why people convicted of harmful and stigmatised behaviour may hide, deny and lie as a means of limiting social devaluation and maintaining their fitness to belong in groups.Practical implicationsAmidst all our efforts as forensic practitioners to empower people to pro-socially reconnect and lead safer crime-free lives, endlessly associating them with their most unacceptable and harmful acts, might not help.Originality/valueEvolutionary forensic psychology and evolutionary criminology are sub-disciplines of science that are progressively emerging. They place the adaptationist approach front and centre in the study and theory of criminal behaviour. This paper aims to offer an example of this synergy, but with a specific focus on forensic practice itself.

Journal

Journal of Forensic PracticeEmerald Publishing

Published: Nov 11, 2019

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