Criminal Behavior

Topics: Sociology, Criminology, Crime Pages: 3 (707 words) Published: June 18, 2013
Melanie Wilson
Psychology and the Law
Criminal Behavior

The four general approaches to explaining criminal behavior are sociological theories, biological theories, psychological theories, and social-psychological theories. (Greene & Heilbrun, 2011) Sociological theory is which maintain that crime results from social or cultural forces that are external to any specific individual; exist prior to any criminal act; and emerge from social class, political, ecological, or physical structures affecting large groups of people. (Greene & Heilbrun, 2011) Biological theories of crime stress genetic influences, neuropsychological abnormalities, and biochemical irregularities. There is little empirical evidence that either sociological or biological theories independently predict criminal behavior. (Greene & Heilbrun, 2011) Psychological theories emphasize that crime results from personality attributes that are uniquely possessed or possessed to a special degree, by the potential criminal. For example, psychoanalysts have proposed several variations on the theme that crime is the result of an ego and superego that are too weak to control the sexual and aggressive instincts of the id. Other psychological; approaches have focused more on patterns of thinking- particularly with respect to recognized risk factors such as pro-criminal attitudes or certain kinds of personality disorders. (Greene & Heilbrun, 2011) Social-psychological theories or social process theories bridge the gap between the environmentalism of sociology and the individualism of psychological or biological theories. Social-psychological theories propose that crime is learned, but they differ about what is learned and how it is learned. (Greene & Heilbrun, 2011) The theory of differential opportunity explains the reason someone turns to a life of crime because if a person is raised in a bad environment they could turn to a life of crime because they were raised around it. But the same...
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