Discuss how alternative approaches to psychology might argue that criminality was determined by forces outside of an individual’s control.

Mock part b answer to a question on free-will vs determinism.

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Turning to crime
Biology
Discuss how alternative approaches to psychology might argue that criminality was determined by forces
outside of an individual's control.
Some psychologists would argue that criminality is determined by forces outside of our control, that our behaviour is
determined by physiology, our upbringing or social interactions.
Sutherland is a social psychologist who proposed the "differential association theory" which states that we learn
behaviours, attitudes and beliefs from our peers. If our peers are negative role models who encourage criminality we
are likely to observe and internalise their beliefs and resort to criminality ourselves (Bandura's social learning theory.)
Wikstrom and Tafel also agree that negative role models and a community who supports anti-social values will be
determinates for turning to crime.
Psychodynamic psychologists such as Yochelson and Samenow identified irrational thinking patterns that are
associated with criminality, these include a need for power and control over others, mental confusion and unrealistic
expectations of being caught. Psychodynamic psychologists would say that our conscious behaviour is determined by
our unconscious mind, which is beyond our obvious control. They would highlight childhood experiences as being vital
in developing a healthy mind, and would argue that those with a dominant ID may be risk-taking and impulsive, which
is behaviour that correlates with criminality.
However those who take a more cognitive approach sure as Rettig or Bennet and Wright describe "rational choice
theory" as being a process of rational decisions and cost-benefit analysis which criminals make before deciding to
commit a crime. This suggests that cognitive psychologists believe there is an element of free-will in our decision
making process and the choice to commit a crime is not entirely beyond an individual's control.
Humanist psychologists also believe that, if our needs are met, humans are capable of acting upon our own free-will
and will be self-motivated to self-actualise.
In conclusion, different approaches to psychology have different perspectives on the free-will/determinism debate.
However most approaches to psychology can conclude that something as complex as turning to crime must be the
result of both socio-cultural/biological determinates, individual characteristics and an element of free-will.

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