Trait Theory

Powerful Essays
Trait Theory
John Meadows
Wilkes Community College
Professor Dan Linker
Criminology
April 26, 2012

Introduction

Trait Theory! What is it? According to the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, Trait theory is a major approach to the study of human personality. Trait theorists are primarily interested in the measurement of traits, which can be defined as habitual patterns of behavior, thought, and emotion. According to this perspective, traits are relatively stable over time, differ across individuals and influence behavior. Traits supply the base from which the range of possible coping choices arises. Trait theory considers that criminal behavior comes from biological or psychological conditions of an individual, which control coping strategies and ultimately results in criminal behavior. Trait Theory like all theories has many other subcategories for instances; Developmental/Cognitive, Personality, Biological, Psychological, Psychodynamic, and Contemporary to name a few. I want to explore the cognitive and developmental theory of Jean Piaget and other subcategories of this theory and how this pertains to the development of latent traits and criminality.

As stated earlier, trait theory has several subcategories and one I want to look at is the developmental or the cognitive constructivism of Jean Piaget. His theory proposes that cognitive development come from knowledge the individual has constructed themselves. That is to say humans cannot be given information which they immediately understand and use. Instead, they must create their own knowledge by utilizing the experiences in their own lives. These experiences enable them to create schemas, or models in their minds. Schemas are changed, expanded upon and grow more complex and refined through assimilation and accommodation. (Guide to Psychology for Students) According to Piaget’s theory, learning is an active process through which making mistakes and problem solving those mistakes are necessary



Bibliography: Burgess, R., & Akers, R. A Differential Association-Reinforcement Theory of Criminal Behavior. Social Problems, Vol. 14, No. 2 (Autumn, 1966), pp. 128-147 Caspi, A., Moffitt, T., Silva, P., Stouthamer-Loeber, M., Krueger, R., & Schmutte, P (1994). Are some people crime-prone? Replications of the personality-crime relationship across countries, genders, races, and methods. Criminology, 32, 163–194. Cherry, Kendra . About.com Psychology. “An Overview of Early Childhood Development.” 12 April. 2012, http://psychology.about.com/od/developmentalpsychology/ss/early-childhood-development_3.htm Dechant, A Schechter, Harold. (2003). Serial Killers. USA: Random House Publishing. Siegel, Larry J. (2005). Criminology. California: Thomson Wadsworth. Walsh, A. (2000) Psychosocial Theories: Individual Traits and Criminal Behavior. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications Wiebe, Richard P Wikipedia. Trait Theory. Retrieved April 12, 2012, From Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trait_theory Zuckerman, M

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