Sociology/ Criminology: Psychological and Biological approaches to crime and deviance

Topics: Sociology, Psychology, Crime Pages: 3 (1081 words) Published: March 10, 2014
Comparing Biological and Psychological Approaches to Crime I was interested in assessing two different approaches to the important issue of crime in society. The articles I chose seek to find different causes to crime via psychological and biological approaches respectively. In this essay I will summarise and analyse both articles and explain how they can be useful in the prevention of crime. For my first journal article I looked at ‘A Psychological Approach to Deterrence: The Evaluation of Crime Opportunities’ By John S. Carroll (1978). This article involves a study which aims to describe how crime could be a result of psychological means, including a ‘New Approach to Deterrence’ (p1513). The article explains how by the use of experimental psychology we can arrive at a rational explanation to how crime comes about. In the study Carroll asked participants to look over a number of crime opportunities with 4 key dimensions. These were (a) the probability of a successful crime, (b) the amount of money to be obtained if successful, (c) the probability of capture, and (d) the penalty if caught (p1513). The study aimed to see which of these factors people placed the most emphasis on and to see how people combined the four to produce what they thought was the most advantageous criminal outcome for them by combining risk and reward. Carroll notes that the study ‘should not be considered a model of criminal behaviour’ but an attempt to show that the evaluation of potential criminal acts is greatly simplified in humans (p1514). The results showed that in adults, the amount of money involved is what most people prioritised and was significant in 83.4% of subjects (p1516). In juveniles however, the results showed that they prioritised probability; the probability of a successful crime and the probability of capture. Carroll concluded that the decision to commit a crime is based upon the opportunities presented by a given situation. This article provides an innovative and...

References: Evan Balaban (1996): Reflections on Wye Woods: Crime, Biology, and Self-Interest: Politics and the Life Sciences, Vol. 15, No. 1 p85-89
Harasim, Linda M (Linda Marie), 1949: Learning Theory and Online Technologies: p10-11
John S. Carroll (1978): A Psychological Approach to Deterrence: The Evaluation of Crime Opportunities: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 36, No. 12, p1512-1520.
Neuman W. (1991) Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches; p13 Table 1.2
Neuman W. (1991) Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches; p344
Matt Spokes
William BAKER
Sociology of Crime and Deviance
Word count: 997
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