Are criminals born or made?

Is criminal behaviour due to nurture or nature? 

Nature - Genes (Christiansen), evolution (Daly and Wilson), brain function (Raine et al)      
Nurture - Social learning theory (Bandura, Charlton), self-fulfilling prophecy (Jahoda, Zebrowitz)

Includes description and evaluation of Gesch et al 2002.

HideShow resource information
Word Document 51 Kb

Pages in this set

Page 1

Preview of page 1

Are criminals born or made?

Criminals are born - "nature"

Is it genetically inherited?


· Christiansen (1977) carried our a twin study to answer this question
3586 twins pairs were tested in Denmark
52% concordance rate for criminality in monozygotic twins
22% concordance in dizygotic twins

· This suggests…

Page 2

Preview of page 2

Criminals are made - "nurture"

Social Learning Theory

Social learning theory involves four main processes:

- you have to pay attention to an action in order to copy it
- criminal behaviour is often shocking so grabs your attention

- you have to remember an action…

Page 3

Preview of page 3

· Identification
you have to identify with someone in order to see them as a role model.
this would explain why boys follow their fathers into crime.

Vicarious reinforcement

· Vicarious reinforcement is the term for watching someone else get rewarded for a
behaviour making you want to copy them.…

Page 4

Preview of page 4

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Self-fulfilling prophecy is the idea that expecting something to happen is sometimes
enough to make it come true. So if you expect that you will not get on with someone, that
will mea that you don't, because you treat them differently.

The process of self-fulfilling prophecy follows a…

Page 5

Preview of page 5

However, it is difficult to define what a "baby-faced boy" is.

Practical applications
· Training could be given to teachers, prison officers and anyone else likely to have
contact with vulnerable young people to make them aware of the fact that their
expectations are likely to affect the way the…

Page 6

Preview of page 6

· It is likely that those eating poor diets in the community are also more likely to display
anti-social behaviour.


· The data is quantitative - the average number of offences committed by the prisoners
in each group
· This is good because quantitative data is easy to…


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »