Theories of Offending (PSYCHOLOGICAL EXPLANATIONS OF OFFENDING BEHAVIOUR …
Theories of Offending
PSYCHOLOGICAL EXPLANATIONS OF OFFENDING BEHAVIOUR
EYSENCK'S THEORY OF THE CRIMINAL PERSONALITY = character traits like moodiness, talkativeness etc tend to cluster along 3 dimensions
EYSENCKS'S 3 DIMENSIONS
EXTROVERSION/ INTROVERSION- extroverts are outgoing, have positive emotions but may get bored easily
NEUROTICISM/ STABILITY - the tendency to experience negative emotional states like anger, anxiety and depression rather than positive emotional states
PSYCHOTICISM/NORMALITY- aggressive, impulsive, impersonal, lack empathy and just not concerned about the welfare of other people
HOW DID EYSENCK ASSESS AN INDIVIDUAL'S PERSONALITY?
THE EYSENCK PERSONALITY QUESTIONAIRE (EPQ)
BIOLOGICAL BASIS - suggested that each trait has a biological basis which is mainly innate- said that 67% of the variance for the traits is due to genetic factors
EXTRAVERSION- determined by the overall level of arousal in a persons nervous system- so a person who is under aroused needs more stimulation- extroverts seek external stimulation to increase their brain arousal. Introverts are innately over aroused and so seek to reduce or avoid stimulation
NEUROTICISM- determined by the level of stability in the sympathetic nervous system - so how much a person responds to a threatening situation- a neurotic person is someone who is quite unstable so so reacts and gets upset quite quickly. at the opposite end- the stable person has a more unreactive nervous system- so they calm under pressure
PSYCHOTICSM - has been related to higher levels of testosterone- means that men who have higher levels of this are more likely to be found at this end of the spectrum
LINK TO CRIMINAL BEHAVIOUR
extroverts- seek more arousal so are more likely to engage in dangerous activities.
neurotics- unstable so are prone to over react to situations of threat which could explain some criminal activity
pscyhoticsm- individuals are aggressive and lacking empathy
people with high extroversion and neuroticsim less easily conditioned and so they do not learn to avoid anti social behaviour
KOHLBERG'S THEORY OF MORAL REASONING - suggesting that moral decisions we make are based n an ethic of justice-
WHAT WAS HIS RESEARCH BASED ON?
BASED HIS THEORY ON RESEARCH WITH BOYS AND MEN- he asked them to describe what behaviour would be right in certain situations that were related to fairness- an example of BETA BIAS- he assumed that the male responses would apply to all people
KOHLBERG'S LEVEL OF MORAL REASONING
THE PRE- CONVENTIONAL LEVEL - children accept the rule of authority figures and judge actions by their consequences. STAGE 1: PUNISHMENT AND OBEDIENCE- focuses on rules enforced by punishment. STAGE 2: INSTRUMENTAL PURPOSE/ REWARDS STAGE - what counts as right is defined by ones own needs.
CONVENTIONAL LEVEL- believe that they should conform to social rules.STAGE 3- GOOD - BOY OR GOOD GIRL- stage considers what other people would think- if closest people are criminals then crime is more likely to occur. STAGE 4: LAW AND ORDER STAGE- stage considers obedience to the law- is the act illegal? - someone at this stage= less likely to commit a crime
POST- CONVENTIONAL MORALITY STAGE (OWN MIND) - STAGE 5- SOCIAL CONTRACT STAGE- obeys the law but may committ a crime under certain circumstance where they may feel the law should not apply. STAGE 6- ETHICAL PRINCIPLE STAGE- where the individual has their own moral code and may commit a crime if they feel the law is unjust.
LINK WITH CRIMINAL BEHAVIOUR- criminals are likely to be at the pre conventional stage level - they believe that breaking the law is justified if the rewards outweigh the costs or if punishment can be avoided.
BIOLOGICAL EXPLANATIONS OF OFFENDING BEHAVIOUR
CRIMINAL PERSONALITY TYPES - personality types based on physical characteristics.
LOMBROSO'S ATAVISTIC FORM- suggesting that certain individuals are born with a criminal personality and this innate personality is a throwback to earlier primate forms.
LOMBROSO BASED HIS THEORY ON HIS OWN RESEARCH USING POST - MORT EM EXAMINATIONS OF CRIMINALS AND STUDYING THE FACES OF LIVING CRIMINALS- he made precise measurements of skulls and other characteristic- called anthropometery, the measurements of humans
EXAMPLES OF THE ATAVISTIC FEATURES= heavy brow, large strong jaw,, large ears, extra nipples or extra fingers/ toes
LOMBROSO argued that criminals are not to blame for their activities as their behaviour is determined by their physiology- had implications for the criminal justice system as the assumption of the legal justice system is that the criminals chose to act the way that they did