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Not only is the data presented compelling, but Eagleman’s presentation of decision-making as a spectrum between biology and free will is convincing and, personally, is more in-tune with human behavior than the classic rational-choice theory (Eagleman, 2018). Eagleman’s perspective and research on the influence of biology on behavior complicates the theories and assumptions set forth by classical rational-choice theory. One commonly used sociological theory we base our criminal justice system upon is classical rational-choice. We have the assumption that humans have free will, are hedonistic, and can act rationality, but Eagleman shows that this is not true for everyone (Miller et. al., 2015). Eagleman’s research into brain composure shows us that damage to parts of the brain, like the orbitofrontal cortex and the amygdala, limits our ability to act and think rationally (Eagleman, 2018).
I do agree with some of the evidence presented by Eagleman regarding free will and human behavior. I believe that some crimes need to be looked at on an individual case as opposed to generalization. With that being said, cases like Alex (pedophile) clearly had a tumor that altered his biology and personality, driving him to have urges that he never experienced before (Eagleman, 2018). In cases such as this, I don’t think that free will is applicable because these urges were unwanted in his normal state of mind. In the Whitman’s case, it is undeniable that he suffered brain damaged due to his tumor (Eagleman, 2018). However, in comparison to Alex, Whitman was aware that something was wrong with him, but he chose to carry out his actions instead of seeking help. Nonetheless, neurological and psychiatric disorders should be taken into considered when a crime occurs because depending on the situation, free will can be lacking