Does your resting heart rate play a role in your likelihood to commit a crime? According to researchers at the University of Penn, there may be a link between lower heart rates and an increased likelihood of committing a crime.
It is no surprise that men commit more crimes than women, but what factors go into the decision to commit a crime? To get a better understanding, researchers at the University of Penn decided to look at some of the biological different between men and women. One of the areas they examined was resting heart rate.
Resting Heart Rate and Crime
For their study, researchers measured the resting heart rate of nearly 900 participants at age 11 and compared it to violent and nonviolent crime commission at age 23. What they found was that individuals with a lower resting heart rate were more likely to have committed a crime by age 23 than individuals with a higher resting heart rate, and their theory behind why this is the case is interesting. According to researchers, people with a lower resting heart rate seek out stimulation to raise their level of arousal to a more optimal one, and since stimulation seeking correlates with a sense of fearlessness, researchers argue that individuals with a low level of fear and a desire to increase their level of arousal will sometimes gravitate towards crime.
“We think cardiovascular functioning partly explains sex difference in crime,” said Penn Integrates Knowldge Professor Adrian Raine, “because low heart rate is a marker for other mechanisms like lack of fear and stimulation-seeking.”
Olivia Choy, who worked on the study, agreed, saying that people seeking to be stimulated can do so by engaging in social behavior, like skydiving, or anti-social behavior, like committing a crime.
“One way to get that stimulation is by engaging in antisocial behavior,” said Choy. “Obviously, you can engage in prosocial behavior, say, for example, like skydiving, but another major theory connects low levels of arousal to low heart rate, reflecting a low level of fear in individuals. To commit a crime, you do need a level of fearlessness, so these are two major explanations for why we see this relationship between low heart rate and antisocial behavior.”
Researchers concluded that a lower resting heart rate partially played a role in the differences in criminal offending between men and women. There are a number of other factors that play a role in one person’s likelihood to commit a crime over someone else, but researchers concluded that resting heart rate accounted for anywhere between 5 to 17 percent of the gender difference in crime.
So if your slow heart beat has led you to commit a crime in the greater Twin Cities area, reach out to the experienced team of trial attorneys at Appelman Law Firm. We can help put your mind and heart at ease. Contact us today.