cognitive explanation

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  • Cognitive Explanations
    • Levels of moral reasoning
      • Kohlberg said people's judgement of right and wrong is determined by moral development
        • Higher the stage the more sophisticated the reasoning
      • Pre Conventional Morality
        • Stage 1: Punishment Orientation
          • Rules are obeyed to avoid punishment
        • Stage 2: Instrumental orientation or personal gain
          • Rules are obeyed for personal gain
        • Criminals are more likely to be at this level of moral reasoning
          • Associated with less mature and childlike reasoning
            • May commit crime if they can get a reward e.g. money or respect
      • Conventional Morality
        • Stage 3: "Good boy" or "Good girl" orientation
          • Rules are obeyed for approval
        • Stage 4: Maintenance of the social order
          • Rules are obeyed to maintain social order
        • Non-criminals more likely to be at this level
      • Post Conventional Morality
        • Stage 5: Morality of contract and individual rights
          • Rules are obeyed if they are impartial; rules are challenged if they infringe ont he rights of others
        • Stage 6: Morality of conscience
          • Individual establishes their own rules based on ethical principles
      • Offenders are more egocentric and show less sympathy and display poorer social skills
      • Individuals at a higher level tend to sympathise more and exhibit behaviours such as honest, generosity and non-violence
    • Cognitive Distortions
      • Faulty and biased thinking helps criminals justify their behaviour
      • Hostile attribution bias
        • Judging ambiguous situations as threatening
        • Misinterpret others actions as violent when they're not
        • Triggers an unfair violent response
      • Minimalisation
        • An attempt to deny or downplay the seriousness of an offense
        • Burglars say they're "supporting their family"
        • Sexual offenders: 35% said they were just being affectionate and 36% said that the victim had consented


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