Psychological theory of criminality

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  • Psychological theory of criminality
    • Eysenck
      • He proposed a theory of personality based on biological factors. He argued that individuals/criminals inherited a type of nervous system that affects their ability to learn and adapt to their environment
        • He suggested these traits can be measured by a personality test
      • Suggested that those who score highly on extraversion are more likely to be criminal
        • This could be because they have low resting heart rates and so are motivated to increase the arousal that their brain craves
          • Introverts have high resting heart rates so don't need such thrill seeking activities as they already have higher than average arousal in their brains.
            • The reticulo cortical system is a part of the brain which responds to stress. A stress hormone called cortisol is produced in response to stressors so introverts will produce more as their reticulo cortical system is very sensitive
    • What is personality?
      • The individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. They make us unique.
    • Assumption
      • Assumes that criminality is determined by how their nervous system functions as this can determine their personality
        • Research that supports Eysenck's theory
          • Rushton & Christjohn (1981) looked at delinquency and personalities of 410 students. They found those who had higher levels of delinquency also had higher extraversion and psychotic levels.
    • Introversion  and Extraversion
      • Introverts are thoughtful, controlled, reliable, calm, reserved and enjoy time alone
      • Extroverts are thrill seekers, have a low resting heart rate, are sociable and outgoing
        • Extraverts are more likely to be criminal
      • Stable and Neuroticism
        • Stable people are predictable, consistent, laidback, have stable moods and don't experience intense stress
        • Neurotic people have low self control, are anxious, have unreliable moods, high stress and recover from stress slowly
          • Neurotic people are more likely to be criminal
        • Self-control and Psychoticism
          • High self control means a person is restrained, calm, thoughtful and considerate
          • A psychotic person is cold, aggressive, egocentric, impulsive and anti-social
            • Psychotic people are more likely to be criminal


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