Defintions for Criminological Psychology

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: nefisa
  • Created on: 07-02-13 20:12
Preview of Defintions for Criminological Psychology

First 575 words of the document:

Criminological psychology
is a specialised area that uses psychology to help understand criminal behaviour including:
Developing theories to explain the causes of crime by examining social and personality issues
that can be a contributory factor. Explanations for the causes of crimes are often split into
nature and nurture arguments. Some psychologists focus on innate personality factors such
as genes and hormones and some argue that crime is caused by environment and upbringing.
Investigating the accuracy of EWT and examining courtroom procedures are two related
areas where psychological research has been applied. Psychologists have demonstrated
EWT can be unreliable and can be affected by factors such as schemas and the way questions
are asked in court. Research from cognitive psychology has been applied to help police in
developing interview techniques.
Developing treatment programmes for offenders. They are used in community or in prison to
rehabilitate criminals and to prevent recidivism. Psychologists working in the prison system
are known as forensic psychologists. They carry out research as well as prepare offenders to
become more settled and productive members of the community.
Identifying offenders using profiling techniques and therefore predicting future crimes. A
profile is the creation and description of an offender based on the clues available from the
crimes scene. It is used in multiple crimes such as murder or rape as sadly, more than one
crime is often needed for a pattern to be noted.
Crime is a behaviour that violates social norms, moral values, religious beliefs and legal boundaries.
Criminal psychology focuses on behaviour that breaks the law and so is subject to punishment.
Recidivism is when an offender persists in engaging in criminal behaviour, e.g. committing a crime
soon after being released from prison. If rates are high then this shows prisons do not rehabilitate
criminals and do not act as a deterrent.
Token economy is based on operant conditioning. Prison management draws up a list of appropriate
behaviours. When a prisoner complies they are given a token (secondary reinforcer) which can be
exchanged for a primary reinforcer e.g. family visits, cigarettes, phone cards etc.
Anti-social behaviour is defined as behaviour that is likely to cause alarm, harassment or distress to
members of the public. The behaviour may not be defined as crime but may result in criminal
behaviour. It can take the form of abusive language, excessive noise, littering, vandalism etc. ASBOs
were introduced in 1998 to widen police and court powers to improve the quality of life in
communities where such behaviour was causing problems.
Stereotyping is a generalised or simplified view of an individual based on limited evidence. The view
is based on the assumption that the individual is part of a certain group who all share the same
characteristics. These assumptions can be positive e.g. all people from Liverpool are humorous or
negative e.g. all people from Liverpool are thieves.
Modelling is when a person imitates behaviour they have observed. There are 4 stages: attention,
retention, motivation and reproduction. Behaviour is more likely to be modelled if the role model is
desirable in some way, or is seen to be rewarded.
EWT is a report given by somebody who witnesses a crime or an accident.


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all resources »