How Not to Study Violence

  • Tabitha M. Powledge
Part of the The Hastings Center Series in Ethics book series (HCSE)


This is a tale of three plans for studying violence and what happened to them. It is a complicated and dispiriting story, with few villains and no heroes, lacking happy endings (or even any endings at all) and full of lessons troubled and troubling. It may be useful to think of it as three morality plays, but because they are contemporary morality plays, the right and wrong of things in them is often unclear.


Behavior Modification Violent Behavior Crime Prevention General Account Office Procedural Safeguard 
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  1. 26.
    A. A. Sandburg, G. F. Koeph, T. Ishihara, and T. S. Hauschka, “An XYY Male”, Lancet 2 (1961): 488–489. The genes of most organisms are organized into individual packages called chromosomes, with a characteristic number for each species. Human beings have forty-six in each body cell except eggs and sperm, which have half that number. Gender is determined by the sex chromosomes, called X and Y; females have two X chromosomes and males have an X and a Y. Errors in cell division can result in extra chromosomes in each cell. The XYY man has an extra Y, or male-engendering, chromosome, and the XXY man has an extra X, or female-engendering one. The latter may develop enlarged breasts at puberty (a treatable condition known as Klinefelter’s syndrome) but is still a male. Such men are often infertile and somewhat retarded. The clinical consequences of the XYY condition are still—as we shall see—a matter of considerable dispute.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    W. M. Court Brown, “Males with an XYY Sex Chromosome Complement”, Journal of Medical Genetics 5 (1968): 341–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Lytt I. Gardner and Richard L. Neu, “Evidence Linking an Extra Y Chromosome to Sociopathic behavior”, Archives of General Psychiatry, 26 (1972): 220–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Martha F. Leonard et al. “Early Development of Children with Abnormalities of the Sex Chromosomes: A Prospective Study”, Pediatrics 54 (1974), 208–212.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Hastings Center 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tabitha M. Powledge
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Science and Technology PolicyNew YorkUSA

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