Behind the Crime: Hormones

At some point in time, you may have heard news that people who are/have/do something are more likely to commit certain crimes. Of course, it may not hold true for all, but it makes sense that some factors can influence behavior and, in turn, affect the likelihood of committing some crimes. A lot of times, this can lie in substances called hormones, which are situationed in the body to stimulate certain actions.

For example, androgens, or sex hormones, are more likely to affect criminal behavior, predominantly testosterone. Testosterone is a common hormone in males, as well as females. However, an excess can cause some hefty mood swings. These range from euphoria to antagonism, and even poor judgement and delusions. Especially tied with low thyroid levels, erratic behaviors may be more noticeable within people. This is hence why many violent crimes are committed by people with higher than normal testosterone levels.


Another factor is the dopamine and serotonin balance. Serotonin regulates body functions by sending messages between nerve cells. In fact, serotonin can regulate aggression and violence. Dopamine, on the other hand, is the reward hormone, which rises when receiving pleasures. When a person's serotonin is decreased, their aggression and impulsivity increase, and so does dopamine. For example, kleptomania, or impulsive stealing, enlarges feelings of wanting a reward. In order to gain more dopamine, they will continue to steal over and over again.


When thinking about stealing, lying, or cheating, people are generally pretty hesitant to do it due to stress. Stress can help sense dangers more easily. If, however, stress decreases, people may not worry as much about the consequences of their actions. Cortisol affects stress by inducing more energy in the brain. With less energy, lower cortisol levels go hand-in-hand with high testosterone levels and decreases brain activity. Resulting from the decrease, people feel less worried or concerned about doing unlawful actions.


Although similar to cortisol, adrenaline controls heart rate, blood pressure, and exterior responses to a situation. Often, adrenaline is associated with excitement, as more blood gets directed to your muscles. So, for those who get more pleasure from causing offenses, they will experience more adrenaline or excitement doing it. This also means that, when a person is forced into a situation where they think they have to commit a crime for survival, they will act more impulsively because their adrenaline heightens.


It's a wonder how much the body's physiological response and chemical makeup can affect what a person does. However, it must be noted that there are still points such as social factors and intentions that can affect a person's actions.That being said, with the information that is being collected on hormones everyday, scientists may eventually form more improved, safe medications to ensure a better society for all.

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