Psychological theories of crime essays

Moreover, Mednick et al suggest that prospective parents were regularly informed about criminal convictions of biological parents which may also have resulted in the labelling of an adoptee. This in turn may affect the likelihood of them committing crime via self-fulfilling prophecy. Some critics argue that biological perspectives do not allow for human meaning, motives and purpose. They remove the attention away from social, economic, political contexts and structures of inequality that are important in fully understanding crime as these may be motives for certain individuals to engage in crime Coleman and Norris, The focus will now shift to psychological explanations suggest that abnormal behaviour is the result of mind and thought processes that form during human development Hollin Atkinson et al argue that a major perspective in modern psychology that traces its origins to Sigmund Freud is the psychoanalytic approach.

According to Freud, humans are born with anti-social, pleasure principles, driven by the id, that seek immediate gratification. The ego based on the reality principle and the source of feelings of guilt, controls tensions created by unmet desires and aids the id to function in socially suitable ways. Successful socialisation relies upon the development of an internal agency, the superego, which encompasses all internalised group norms, social and moral standards that guide behaviour.

This solely depends on early satisfactory parent-child relationships.

On the other hand, disturbed relationships, dependent on the stage of development in which problems arise; result in unconscious conflicts within the child Coleman and Norris. This theory gives emphasis to irrational and unconscious impulses and the insufficient functioning of the superego to explain crime. A harsh superego holds unconscious extreme guilt over childhood desires and behaviour invites punishment. A weak superego is self-centred, impulsive and lacks guilt; hence the desires of the id are inadequately controlled.

The deviant superego has normal but deviant standards normally from close attachment between a child and a criminal parent Newburn, From this standpoint, inner unsatisfied desires, which stem from a failure to experience strong emotional ties with a parent, result in criminal behaviour as an act or sublimation.

This is supported by evidence suggesting children who had committed offences had less stable families and showed greater signs of emotional disturbance than the control group Hollin, He argues that as a child experiences normal development, their behaviour will be more socialised and in keeping with the rules of its environment. Alexander and Staub , using the reality principle, explain how a criminal is unable to postpone immediate gratification.

According to Blackburn , though the psychoanalytic approach can be used to explain behaviour in puberty, it does not explain the generalised desistance from criminal behaviour that occurs in late adolescence.


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Thus, it fails to account for the age distribution of offending, which is a significant feature in delinquency. He developed two personality dimensions along which people varied; extraversion-introversion and neuroticism-stability.

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Criminology Psychological Theories Essay

He describes the former as characterised by impulsive, thrill seeking individuals with a tendency to seek stimulation from others — or individuals that avoid stimulation and have a reserved personality. The other dimension is characterised by individuals prone to high anxiety and negative affectivity when exposed to unpleasant or painful stimuli — or individuals that remain clam even when faced with stressful situations.

He later developed psychotism whereby a person is cold, cruel and lacks guilty feelings. In relation to criminal behaviour, according to Eysenck, individuals higher in neuroticism and extraversion are more likely to become criminal as they condition least well as a result of having weaker control over their behaviours.

Conversely, stable introverts socialise effectively and will therefore be under represented among offenders. Psychoticism is seen to be linked to aggressive offences Ainsworth, and Hollin, This theory has its strengths in its testability of its predictions and the simplicity of measuring personality.

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However, it has been criticised for over-predicting delinquency. Also, Vold et al argue that the theory assumes delinquents are defective and inferior to non-delinquents. This view is also found in biological theories.

Psychological Theories Of Crime - A-Level Psychology - Marked by aruninedan.tk

Taylor et. They also question whether it is even possible to measure personality in value free and reliable manner. On the other hand, some personalities may be more predisposed to addictions to illegal substances than others, and this may result in engaging in crime. It may be worth analysing the situations criminals find themselves in rather than their psychological characteristics, to get a better view on crime Ainsworth, and Vold et al Overall, Matxa argue that positivism treats people as passive and encourages unfair penal policies in the pretence of rehabilitation with its main targets as deterministic and of correctionalism.

In treating the deviance of individuals as pathology it implies that the law provides basic criteria of normality and criminal behaviour necessitates a cure and treatment to erase it Henry and Lanier, In other words, each time we subscribe to one cause of crime we may realize that also the opposite cause possesses some reasonable validity.

In the first part of the book a conventional criminal activity par excellence is examined, namely activity related to the economy of illicit drugs. The second part of the book addresses specific cases of elite criminality, including illicit trafficking in arms and human beings.

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The chapters devoted to the analysis of political and administrative corruption in Italy, France, and Britain provide yet other examples of how illegal practices may be imputed to one cause in one context and its opposite in another. Keywords: criminal activities , Europe , oscillations , causality , anti-criminological tradition , illicit.

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