Psychological Explanation of the Causes of Crime
Psychological-pertaining to the mind or to mental phenomena as the subject matter of psychology. -To account for criminal motivation in people, criminologists have used various psychology theories that attempt to explain human intellectual and emotional development. These theories can be divided into three categories: a. Moral Development Theories describe a sequence of developmental stages that people pass through when acquiring the capacity to make moral judgments. According to these theorists, this development process may or may not completed and people who remain unable to recognize right from wrong will be more likely to engage in inappropriate, deviant, or even criminal behavior. b. Social Learning Theories emphasize the process of learning and internalizing moral codes. Learning theorists note different patterns of rewards and sanctions that affect this process. c. Personal Theories assume a set of enduring perceptions and predisposition’s (tendencies) that each individual develops through early socialization. These theorists propose that certain predisposition’s or personality traits, such as impulsiveness or extroversion, increase the chances of criminal behavior. -In contrast to biological and hereditary theories, there are a variety of psychological explanations for crime and emphasize the importance of personality and its role in criminal and delinquent behavior. Some psychological theories stress the importance of mental processes, childhood experiences, and unconscious thoughts. Others stress the importance of social learning or human perception.
Types of Psychological Theories: a. Psychiatric Criminology (Forensic Psychiatry)
-Theories derived from the medical sciences, including neurology, and which, like other psychological theories focus on the individual as the unit of analysis. Psychiatric theories form the basis of psychiatric criminology. While forensic psychiatry is that branch of psychiatry having to do with the study of crime and criminality. -David Abrahamsen, a psychiatrist explains crime “antisocial behavior is a direct expression of an aggression or may be a direct or indirect manifestation of distorted erotic drive,” -Envisions a complex set of drives and motives operating from recesses deep within the personality to determine behavior.
*Psychopath or Sociopath
-A person with a personality disorder, especially one manifested in aggressively antisocial behavior, which is often said to be the result of a poorly developed superego. Hervey Cleckley described the psychopath as a “moral idiot”. Or as one who does not feel empathy with others, even though he or she may be fully cognizant of what is objectively happening around them.
Characteristic of the Psychopathic Personality 1. An absence of delusions, hallucinations, or other sign of psychosis. 2. The inability to feel quilt or shame
4. Chronic lying
5. Superficial Charm
6. Above-average Intelligence
7. Ongoing antisocial behavior
8. Inability to learn from experience
*Antisocial or Asocial Personality
-Refers to individuals who are basically unsocialized and whose behavior brings them repeatedly into conflict with society. They are incapable of significant loyalty to individuals, groups, or social values. They are grossly selfish, callous, irresponsible, impulsive, and unable to feel guilt or to learn from experience and punishment. Frustration tolerance is low. They tend to blame others or offer plausible rationalization for their behavior.
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