How Psychological Research Has Helped in the Understanding of Criminal Behaviour

Topics: Stanford prison experiment, Aggression, Bobo doll experiment Pages: 8 (2950 words) Published: May 14, 2013
How psychological research has helped in the understanding of criminal behaviour Bandura (1961) - Bobo doll experiment -
Albert Bandura created the bobo doll experiment in 1961, the aim of this experiment was to show that if children where witnesses to aggressive displays by an adult of some sort they would imitate this behaviour when given an opportunity. The tested group contained 36 young girls and 36 young boys all aged between 4 and 5 years which was then divided into 3 groups of 24 – the aggressive condition, the non aggressive condition and the control group. The first group involved the children watching aggressive models, where the children where then subdivided by sex of the role model they were exposed to. The second group involved the children watched non aggressive models, where the children were also subdivided by the sex of the role model which they were exposed to. This left the two conditioned groups subdivided into eight experimental groups each containing 6 subjects. They were 6 boys with the same sex model, 6 boys with opposite model, 6 girls with the same sex model and 6 girls with the opposite model. With 3 different groups, Bandura had created a complicated design for the study which resulted in 3 independent variables; the conditions the children were exposed to, the sex of the child and the sex of the role model. Each child was then tested individually and the findings where then recorded. The experiment was done in an artificial environment and the researcher manipulated the independent variables into the conditions.

In stage one of the experiment, the children were brought into the experimental room by the examiner. The room was set out as a nursery play room since that was the appropriate setting for the age of the children. One corner of the room had been arranged as a child’s play area consisting of a small table and chair and picture stickers. In the opposite corner of the room was where the adult models would be followed by a small table and chair, tinker toy set and a five foot bobo doll. In the aggressive condition the model began by playing with the tinker toy set but after a couple minutes the model turned its attention to the bobo doll and was aggressive towards the doll in a very distinctive way. Were as in the non aggressive condition the model ignored the bobo doll and played with the tinker toys in a gentle manner. After 10 minutes the children where then taken into new room. In stage two of the experiment the children were brought into a room with relativity attractive toys. In this room the children were to be subjected to mild aggression arousal. Once the children started to play with the toys, the experimenter took them off the children claiming they had been reserved for the other children. The children were then taken into the last and final room for stage three of the experiment. In this room the children were told they could play with any toys in there, the toys in stage three consisted of both non aggressive and aggressive toys. The children were kept in the room for 20 minutes where observations were made through a one way mirror by judges.

With the observation and findings of this experiment, three measures of imitation were obtained. For this study the observers’ looked specifically for responses from the children that were very similar to the display by the adult model. They included; imitation of physical aggression, imitation of verbal aggression and imitation of non verbal aggression. With these observations, the researchers were able to consider which children imitate the models, which models the children imitated and whether the children showed a general increase of aggressive behaviour. The main findings of this study were that the children in aggressive model condition made more aggressive responses than the children in the non aggressive condition. They also found that the boys made more aggressive responses than girls, as well as the sex of the...

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