Fear comes in many different forms but the worst fears are the ones created by society itself — humans. Criminals and terrorists are in the news every day. But what is the real truth behind their actions? Is it society or genetics that causes these so called “troublemakers?” What’s the truth behind these minds?

Two years ago I decided to do a research paper on neurocriminology. Back then, I was curious about the secrets about these "defective" mindsets. Back then, I was innocent and believed the stereotype that all criminals are psychopaths. Back then, I came to a realization: society's ignorance is what creates criminals. And we see this everyday in our lives, from the recent mass shootings to the wars. We feel sorry and send our prayers to the victims of political violence, but what we never do is actually attempt to change the way our world function. Believing and doing are different. Our ignorance to address the root cause of criminals ranging from mental health to lack of education is what is killing our own brothers and sisters.

Here are seven facts to help you understand how criminals are lot more average, like us, than you thought.


1. Criminals can be identified by physical characteristics.

Scholar, Cesare Lombroso was an Italian prison doctor (criminologist) and physician who established the Italian School of Positivist Criminology. Cesare Lombroso hypothesized that criminals could be identified by their physical characteristics including a large jaw and a sloping forehead. Other characteristics include twisted nose, excessive cheekbones, long arms, excessive wrinkles on skin and a large chin. Although this sounds like a stereotypical villain from Disney, because Lombroso was a celebrated intellectual, his findings became the basis of many fake theories in the early 20th century, making the people on the bottom of the hierarchy not fit to live at all. This birthed the stigma that all criminals are crazy psychopath who carry guns and are merciless.

2. Your parents could be the reason you end up a criminal.

When I say this, I don't mean abuse or the home environment. I am talking about genetics. In 1984, a study done by Sarnoff Mednick found that a person convicted of zero offenses resulted in 13 percent of their children convict a crime. And for the people who convicted two or more offenses, had 25 percent of their sons convict an offense. Contrary to popular belief, criminals are not always made, but sometimes, they are just born. The children of criminals are not taught right and wrong but "wrong" and "wrong." If we must address the criminal issue in America, we must target the children of criminals first.

3. Pollution can result in criminal behavior.

Environmental factors usually damage the prefrontal region of a criminal's brain, resulting abnormal behavior. From 21 months, children are particularly prone to lead in soil, air pollution and contamination done by dumping. Increasing levels of lead in the U.S. throughout the 1950 to 1970s caused an increased amount of violence 20 years later. This may not be concerning now, but as pollution increases, we may face our self in the midst of chaos.

4. Criminals usually have smaller brains.

In 2009, Yaling Yang directed a brain scan of 27 psychopaths. Compared to 32 normal brain scans, the psychopaths seemed to have a smaller amygdala by 18 percent. Because of their smaller amygdala, psychopaths know what is wrong and right, but they just don’t feel it. This is a crucial reason to bring light in the mental health field, because although many criminals don't face mental disorders, they are in an incorrect state of mind.

5. Mental Disorders

Society has placed a stigma that criminals are facing some mental disorder and that results in their irrational actions. That is simply not true. Researchers analyzed 429 crimes committed by 143 offenders with three major types of mental illness and found that 3 percent of their crimes were directly related to symptoms of major depression, 4 percent to symptoms of schizophrenia disorders and 10 percent to symptoms of bipolar disorder.

6. If you have a twin, you are more likely to become a criminal.

Numerous studies have found that identical twins are much more similar to each other in behavioral aspects of crime and aggression than fraternal twins who only share 50 percent of their genes. This brings me to the Kray Brothers, who ran mafia style operations. These twins often fought and committed murders as if they had telepathic signals between the two of them.

7. Cancer can result in crimes.

Some criminals are noted to have tumors. If the tumor reaches the amygdala, it can incite criminal behavior. While other criminals have low levels of neurotransmitters which results in loss of memory and an imbalance in chemical signals. This imbalance leads to impulsive acts and violent thoughts.