FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY - EYSENCK's THEORY of the CRIMINAL PERSONALITY

eysenck's theory of criminal personality as an explanation for offending - forensic psychology

a2 psychology unit 3

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Preview of FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY - EYSENCK's THEORY of the CRIMINAL PERSONALITY

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Eysenck's Theory of the Criminal Personality
Traits such as personality and intelligence are innate
Another biological theory
However, offending behaviour is not directly inherited, but rather a consequence of the type
of nervous system we inherit which determines our personality
Eysenck claimed that individuals vary across two dimensions introvert-extrovert and
neurotic-stable
Individuals vary depending on how introvert (shy) or extravert (outgoing) they are, and how
stable (not anxious) or neurotic (anxious) they are
Later added was a third dimension; psychotcism, typically cold, uncaring and aggressive
These personality dimensions were measurable using a personality questionnaire, the
Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI)
The total number of yes and no answers to certain questions reveals an E score
(extraversion) and an N score (neuroticism)
This reveals the individual's position in relation to the dimensions
Responses to further items gave a P score
Based on this, Eysenck proposed that neurotic-extravert was the criminal type
Suggested extraverts are sensation-seeking because their nervous system is chronically
under-aroused
They also have a nervous system that does not condition easily, meaning they do not learn
from their mistakes
They struggle to learn appropriate behaviour
Neurotics are emotionally unstable and anxious
Their reactions are unpredictable
This combination of sensation-seeking, unpredictability and inability to learn leads the
neurotic-extravert into criminal behaviours

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