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Are criminals born or made?

New research suggests that some people have a stronger innate tendency towards violence than others. Should this change the way we think about crime and punishment?

By Daniel Dennett   May 2013

Peter Lorre as Hans Beckert in a scene from the 1931 film M, in which he plays a child murderer tortured by his compulsion to kill © Everett/Rex Features

The Anatomy of Violence: The biological roots of crime by Adrian Raine (Allen Lane, £25)

Monsters have always fascinated us. As soon as we outgrow the spine-tingling dragons and ogres of fairytales we turn our rapt attention to the celebrity monsters of real life: Jack the Ripper, the Unabomber, Charles Manson, Ted Bundy, Adam Lanza. We know their names, don’t we? Behind…

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