Demonstrating the validity of twin research in criminology

J. C. Barnes, John Paul Wright, Brian B. Boutwell, Joseph A. Schwartz, Eric J. Connolly, Joseph L. Nedelec, Kevin M. Beaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

84 Scopus citations

Abstract

In a recent article published in Criminology, Burt and Simons claimed that the statistical violations of the classical twin design render heritability studies useless. Claiming quantitative genetics is "fatally flawed" and describing the results generated from these models as "preposterous," Burt and Simons took the unprecedented step to call for abandoning heritability studies and their constituent findings. We show that their call for an "end to heritability studies" was premature, misleading, and entirely without merit. Specifically, we trace the history of behavioral genetics and show that 1) the Burt and Simons critique dates back 40 years and has been subject to a broad array of empirical investigations, 2) the violation of assumptions in twin models does not invalidate their results, and 3) Burt and Simons created a distorted and highly misleading portrait of behavioral genetics and those who use quantitative genetic approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)588-626
Number of pages39
JournalCriminology
Volume52
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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    Barnes, J. C., Wright, J. P., Boutwell, B. B., Schwartz, J. A., Connolly, E. J., Nedelec, J. L., & Beaver, K. M. (2014). Demonstrating the validity of twin research in criminology. Criminology, 52(4), 588-626. https://doi.org/10.1111/1745-9125.12049