Developmental factors that determine the age of criminal intent in children under the age of seven Charity T. Holloway Liberty University
Developmental factors that determine the age of criminal intent Developmental factors that determine the age of criminal intent in children under the age of seven In determining what developmental factors would apply to criminal intent I first had to define criminal intent. The working definition of criminal intent means: the intent to do
something wrong or forbidden by law. Intent refers to the state of mind accompanying an act especially a forbidden act. I also had to remember development tends to be gradual rather than abrupt and highly variable among individuals of the same chronological age. That children 's development is incomplete, their judgments lack maturity, and their character is still developing. There were three developmental theories that could attribute to our legal system believing that children under age seven were incapable of criminal intent. These are children's biosocial development, cognitive development, and psychosocial development in relation to their age. Biosocial development relates to the many changes in the brain and body in early childhood. Children's brains are still growing and information processing is much slower than in adults. The immaturity of the prefrontal cortex causes impulsiveness. The limbic system that performs the the function to regulate control is still maturing. And there is increased amygdala activity that can disrupt reason. These are just a few of the changes taking place in children under seven that can effect their state of mind. Cognitive development is another factor that could attribute to the lack of criminal intent. Piaget's theory of cognitive development states prior to age seven thinking is not systematic or logically based , this is preoperational thought. Children...