Criminal thinking patterns. Chapter 2, Crime. Evaluations.


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Criminal thinking patterns, Evaluation one. M


Biological: scientific lab method, so generally collects quantative date.

Pro's: high in level of control over variables, cheap, easy to collect, high in reliability and easy to repeat.

Blair - showed participants slides showing threatening or neutral images and measured their skin conductance while they viewed the slides.


Psychosocial Model: qualatative data generally collected through self report.

Pro's: rich in detail Con's: Lack of control over data, demand characteristics.

Kanin - 1/3 of male students admitted ****: levels may have been higher but students did not want to admit their actions, or felt that they should say no. Of course this could of happened the other way so that students wanted to say yes in order to help the experiment.

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Criminal thinking patterns, evaluation two. M-E-


Biological: - labelling which causes learned helplesness, and harm to participants for remembering old memories.

Blair - labelled psychopathic patients as having an abnormal VIM (Violence Inhibiting Mechanism) which is activated through non verbal distress signals from the victim. This could cause learned helplessness as the psychopath may think that their behaviour is nothing to do with them and is purely defined by their biology. Also having their skin conductance measured could cause harm and stress to participants.


Psychosocial: deception, lack of informed consent, harm and stress to participants.

Hollins - labelled participants as morally underdeveloped in regard to Kolbergs 'Theory of Moral development'. This could cause learned helplesness, and lower self worth and self efficacy thus incoraging de-individualisation and de-personalisation (Zimbardo). This in turn could make already vunerable people more likely to re-offend and return to crime because of their low opinion and view of themselves.

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Criminal thinking patterns, evalutation three. M-E


Biological: reductionistic, deterministic as it has an underlying assumption that we are all just biological machiens with no control over our thoughts, feelings or behaviour.

Does not explain how mind and body interact with one another.

Blair - Violence Inhibiting Mechanism (VIM) exists, activates through non-verbal distress signals from the victim. Criminals lack of responsivness to distress signals cause them to commit crime, not understand others emotions fully.

= reductionistic. Does not account for social factors such as upbringing or enviroment.


Benet and Wright - 'Theory of planned behaviour' = 59% of burglars planned out the best time to rob their chosen house and waited until everything was perfect before commiting the crime.

= reductionistic. Does not take into account the biology of criminals.

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Criminal thinking patterns, evaluation four. M-E-A


should we treat all criminals as a homegenous group or should we treat them as individuals?

Change measures: rehabilitation via use of psychotherapies like CBT.

Control measures: imprisonment of all serious criminals and use of drugs to control their behaviour.

Biological: limited usefulness and effectivness as shown by increasing crime figures and high number of criminals who re-offend.

BLAIR: 'S VIM findings would support suggest that we scan all individuals in their early life for amygadala dysfunction.

- lack of ecological validity: not very relevant because not all people who commit crime have a dysfunctional VIM.

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- scanning for dysfunctional VIM infringes human rights and can also lead to labelling = then to crime.


psychosocial findings: would advocate for an idepgraphic approach to treatment. Aim for changing offender personality to an non-offender personality via use of CBT.


-high ecological validity: effective suggestions to minimise or prevent criminal behaviours eg altering social influences such as punishment methods to reduce crime.

= in order to prevent re-offending an ideographic (patient centered and individual) approach is the best way to offer a tailopr made hollistic treatment. Many social factors would need public and political intervention.

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