Criminal Psychology-Topic 1 (Raine (Conclusions (There is a biological…
Criminal Psychology-Topic 1
Early intervention:brain scans/genetic testing
A policy of early genetic testing for criminals, is not yet planned because variables are not stable enough in order to predict that a set of gene combinations can accurately predict of a biological criminal type.
Diet and enrichment
Omega 3 fish oil can reduce wide range of crimes including aggressive, impulse control, faulty decision making. It helps make the nerve cell membrane elastic and fluid so signals pass through it efficiently, improving brain functioning. Raine studies 200 children, showing after having omega 3, significant reduction in aggression
Anti-psychotic medication for violent crime
Administration of anti-psychotic drugs can lead to a reduction in violent crime. These drugs alter the chemicals in the brain and can reduce impulsiveness, violent behaviour, agitation and regulate mood. Hazel found among 2,657 men violent crime decreased nearly 45% in patients receiving antipsychotics.
Chemical castration for sexual offenders
Castration via anaphrodisiac drugs. These drugs can reduce sex drive, compulsive sexual fantasies. Side effects include increases in body fat and reduced bone density. In 1981, Gagne tested 48 males given them medroxyprogesterone acetate. 40 of those were recorded as to have diminished desires for deviant sexual behaviour, less frequent sexual fantasies.
There is a biological link between brain dysfunction and violent criminal behaviour. Reduced activity in the prefrontal area, may explain impulsive behaviour, loss of self control n altered emotionality. All of these may make it easier to carry out different kinds of aggressive acts because normal constraints on behaviour may be reduced.
The murderers had lower levels of activity in the prefrontal cortex compared to non murderers
In the subcorial regions the murderers also had lower activity in the corpus callosum and reduced activity in the amygdla (emotion regulation)
All murderers were kept medication free for 2 weeks. Injected with an FDG 'glucose tracker' and asked to complete a Continuous Performance Task. After 32 mins of uptake of the tracer, each person had a PET scan. Two techniques used to identify brain region: 1) Cortical Peel technique 2) Box technique
41 participants (39 men, 2 female) were matched by age and gender and had a mean age of 31.7 years. 6 people with schizophrenia in experimental group were matched w/ 6 people with schizophrenia in control group
To see if violent offenders who commit murder and plead nnot guilty for reasons of insanity have localised brain dysfunction
41 'murderers' (39 male, 2 female), mean age of 34.3 years, all pleading NGRI. They were all referred to Uni of California for examination . All referred for the following:
a) 6 has schizophrenia
b) 23 had head injuries or organic brain damage
c) 3 had a history of psychoactive drug abuse
Quasi (IV- murderers brains/non murderers brains) Matched pairs design (matched on age,sex and psychiatric condition)
Non-biological theories of criminal behaviour
Social learning theory
Additional evidence is from
where he interviewed 411 boys over a 40 year period. The study found that 41% of the boys went on to have a conviction. The most important risk factors were family criminality, low school achievement, poor parenting. Harrington found that 42% of boys with a convicted father went on to have a conviction themselves. This can be used to explain criminality and how it is influenced by parental and sibling role models, which shows how criminality can be learned from others.
Williams research into effects of media aggression on behaviour. He examined children's levels of aggression before and after the introduction of tv in an isolated community. He found that aggression in this community's children rose steadily whilst in a community where TV was already there there was no increase. Children learnt to behave aggressively from models in the TV programmes
Once criticism of SLT is that it is reductionist. It underplays the role of cognition in criminal behaviour.
Bandura showed children an adult model being aggressive to a bobo doll, those who had seen the aggressive model were significantly more likely to imitate this behaviour.
suggests that behaviour of all kinds is learned through the observation and imitation of models. If the model is observed to be reinforced then imitation becomes likely.
Biological theories of criminal behaviour
It is clear that there is no one physiological abnormality that causes people to commit crimes. A satisfactory explanation of a crime is likely to require consideration of biological, psychological, environmental and social factors.
Brain abnormality or dysfunction
Limbic system linked to criminality, it includes the prefrontal cortex and amygdala.The PFC sends messages to limbic system to warn us of consequences of acting on our impulses. The amygdala is associated with aggressive behaviour and recognition of emotional stimuli (fearful face). Damage to the amygdala is associated with fearlessness and difficulty reading emotion.
Low levels of activities in the pre-frontal cortex (PFC) has been linked to criminality. PFC performs number of functions including regulating behaviour and self-control. Low levels of activity in this area may result in impulsivity, lack of empathy, loss of self control.
Testosterone and violent crime
Testosterone can cause bouts of aggression.
et al measured testosterone in saliva of 89 inmates. Inmates with higher testosterone levels had more often been convicted of violent crimes.
Increased levels of testosterone links to criminal behaviour by raising aggression
. This mean when confronted with stimuli they find irritating they may snap and commit a violent act.
Genes and criminal behaviour
investigated link between genes, serotonin and criminality. He investigated males affected by Brunner syndrome (causes violent abnormal behaviour i.e. impulsive aggression, arson attempted rape) by testing urine samples. Found that the men had too much noradrenaline, serotonin and dopamine (linked with aggressive behaviour) which was caused by a fault on the X chromosome of the gene responsible for production of MAOA (breaks down neurotransmitter)
Background- Historical theories
said that criminal behaviour is linked to a
person's physical form
. Three basic body types:
ectomorph, endomorph and mesomorph
. Claimed mesomorphs are more prone to criminal activity, mesomorphic build reflects high testosterone levels, which may result in high aggression.
claimed that criminality was heritable (genetic). He said violent criminals were throwbacks to less evolved human types, identifiable with
i.e. strong jaw and a heavy brow. Said murderers had bloodshot eyes and curly hair, whilst sex offenders had thick lips and protruding ears.
19th century phrenology was the belief that criminal behaviour stemmed from an abnormal brain as evidenced in the shape of the skull.
Franz Joseph Gall
claimed to identified over or underdeveloped brain "organs" that gave rise to specific character: the organ of destructiveness, of covetousness (greediness) and so on which are recognisable by
bumps on the head.