Introduction to Criminal Psychology

Key terms to define and an intro to criminal psychology

  • Created by: Hannah
  • Created on: 06-12-10 21:10


Crime- actions deemed to be punishable by the majority and/or those in power.

Antisocial behaviour- acting in a manner which is likely to cause harassment,alarm or distress to one or more persons not of the same household as the perpetrator. This includes aggressive, intimidating and destructive behaviour that reduces the quality of life within the community

Recidivism- repeat offending and the tendency to relapse into crime.

Stereotyping- the tendency to apply commonly believed, oversimplified views, for example from the media, to all memebers of a group

Modelling- when a person observes a behaviour then imitates it.

Token economy- a method of encouraging desirable behaviour, usually in a hospital setting (psychiatric hospitals),  by offering rewards that can be exchanged for watching TV, cigarettes, etc

Eye Witness Testimony- The report given by witnesses to a crime. Psychologists aim to increase the accuaracy of EWT and improve their reliability.

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Introduction to criminal Psychology

  • Criminal psychology focuses on the role of psychology in understanding crime and looks at the way psychologists can help in the justice system
  • Psychologists are involved in rehabilitating offenders, providing expert advice in court cases, assessing both offenders and victims, preventing crimes and much more

Hollin (1989)- 3 ways to define crime:

  • Consensus view- agreement amongst society about which behaviours are punishable.
  • Conflict view- suggests criminal laws exist to protect the rich and the powerful.
  • Interactionist view- suggests there is no right or wrong e.g. killing somone is sometimes criminal but not always in the case of war crimes. This view reflects legal standards set by those in power and the changing morals of society
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Anti-social Behaviour

  • Any behaviour is virtually imtimidating or threatening activity that scares you or damages your quality of life
  • E.g. graffiti, abusive and intimidating language, excessive noise, litter dropping,druken behaviour, dealing drugs

ASBOs- orders that forbid specific, thereatening or intimidating actions

ASBOs in effect for 2 years. Civil orders so won't appear on a criminal record.

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