PY4 - Forensic Psychology WJEC

Theories of crime based on the WJEC board

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Emily Hunt
PY4 Forensics
Theories of Crime
Biological Theory of Crime
Family patterns
20% of convicts have fathers who are too convicts. MEDNICK ET AL (1987) studied 14,000 adoptees
and found evidence for biological factors more than environmental.
Criminal Genes
5-HTTLPR is the gene found to be for violence. An area in the brain tends to lack activity which is
associated with emotion and reward, the anterior cingulate cortex.
The hormone testosterone was found present in most criminals and a lot higher than levels of
average people (less violent). Even violent women tended to have higher level of testosterone
(DABBS ET AL 1995)
Those with low levels of Serotonin were found to be more violent (VALZELLI 1973)
Strong evidence to support through adoption studies, that genetics played a large part.
Mednick studies were repeated by BOHMAN (1996)
Strong links between the genes and neurotransmitters
Applicable to life, serotonin is linked to an unbalanced life; those that have trouble with
production of Serotonin should try to balance their diet.
The evidence in researchers does not always have strong significance, which suggests
other factors like the environment play a part.
Psychological Theory of Crime
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
When an observed is accused by the observer for anti-social behaviour due to a stereotype they are
then encouraged to react in a way that reinforces the stereotype and confirms the observers view.
JAHODA (1954) found that the nursery rhyme, a tradition in Ashanti the days boys were born gave
them characteristics, Wednesday boys were to be aggressive and violent. 13.5% of boys in court
are born on Wednesdays, fulfilling their stereotype
to being aggressive.
Once developed the label of a criminal, the person may then believe this and accept it in their
self-concept. Thus the person behaviours as a criminal.

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