The “positive school of criminology” founded by the Italian physician Cesare Lombroso, was a reaction to the classical school which had assumed that men were rational and endowed with free will. The positive school opposed a rigorous determinism to freedom of the will, stating instead that engaging in criminal conduct is determined by conditions beyond the control of the actor (inherited behavioral tendencies) and is not therefore to be understood as an exercise in free will.

The concepts of the Lombrosian School were later disproved by Goring. However, the conviction that criminals have biological defects has continued on. Though this view is sorely lacking scientific proof and has been greatly criticized by sociologists today, it continues currently in attempts to offer a genetic explanation for the cause of violent crime. It has been suggested that excessive aggression and hostility are the result of the presence of an extra Y chromosome.

Proponents of this theory argue that there is a disproportionate number of criminal men with an XYY chromosomal makeup, as evidence for this hypothesis. In reality, there are no conclusive findings on whether criminals actually have a higher rate of XYY chromosome makeup as compared to the remaining population. Another attempt to locate the cause of some criminality in pathology is in the endocrinological theories which attribute deviance to glandular malfunction. References to the theory that biological defects may be accounted to as causes of terrorist behavior have been numerous and highly varied.

Internationally, psychiatrists and psychologists are investigating the indications of physiological abnormality in captured terrorists. In Germany, multiple proposals were submitted in an attempt to study the body of Ulrike Meinhof of the Baader-Meinhof group after her suicide. According to Anthony Burton, Meinhof had undergone an operation for the removal of a brain tumor just prior to embarking on her terrorist p career. In a normal organism, with an intact and undamaged brain, the brain acts as a unit working as an entity to integrate and control behavior.

However, a lesion or tumor may stimulate that portion of the brain in which it is located causing unusual changes in that person’s behavior. Serious tumors, especially those with psychological complications, are most common in the frontal, temporal, and parietal lobes. Since the skull is a bony, unyielding container, a relatively small tumor in the brain may cause marked pressure and thus may interfere seriously with normal brain functioning.

Common symptoms are persistent headache, memory impairment, listlessness, depression, disorientation, irritability, hallucinations, paranoia, and tendency to be combative, A post mortem examination of the brain of Ulrike Meinhof may have led to a possible explanation for her career in terrorism.

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