Psychology- Turning to Crime

Case studies in turning to crime topic

  • Created by: Nicole
  • Created on: 10-05-11 13:14

Turning to Crime


  •  Disrupted families; Farrington et al- cambridge study in Delinquent Development
  • Learning from others; Sutherland, theory of differential Association
  • Poverty and disadvantaged neighbourhoods; Wikstrom+Tafel, the peterbrough Youth study


  • Criminal thinking patterns; Yochelson + samenow, study of thinking patterns in criminals
  • Moral development; Kohlberg, Moral Development in Children
  • Social cognition; Gujohnsson and Bownes, Attribution of blame and type of crime committed


  • Brain dysfunction; Raine, understanding social development
  • Genes and serotonin; Brunner, Study of vionlence in a family with genetic abnormality
  • Gender; Daly and wilson, investigation of gender-related life expectancy
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farrington et al, The cambridge Study in Deliquent

Aim; document the start, duration + end of offending behaviour + Investigate the influence of life events.

 Desgin; Longitudinal study + interviews

Participants; 411 boys aged 9 & 8, from 6 schools in East London. white class


  •  at 48, 161 had convictions
  • Offences peaked at age 17
  • those who started criminal careers at age 10-13 were nearly all reconvicted at least once and committed 9 crimes on average.
  • self-reported crimes not covered by oiffical statistics indicates that 93% admitted to commiting one type of offence.

Conclusion; Offenders tend to be deviant in many aspects of their lives. Early preventation reduces offending could have had benefits. Most important risk factor; family, poverty, poor child-rearing and poor school saving.


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Sutherland, Theory of differential Association

Priciples of Criminology;

  • criminal behaviour is learned- behaviour cannot be inherited or a result of any other biological condition.
  • Criminal behaviour is learned in interaction with other persons in a process of communication- commuiation usually  involves verbal interaction, it could also use genstures without words
  • Principal part of the learning of criminal behaviour occurs within intimate personal groups- Intimate personal groups provided the largest influence on the learning of criminal behaviour
  • The learning environment includes the techniques of commiting the crime, which are sometimes very complicated- criminals have to lern the tricks of the trade from someone first
  • specific direction of motives and drives is learned from definitions of the legal codes as favourable or unfavourable- Some groups may see laws as pointless or discriminatory and therefore feel they flaunt them.
  • differential associations may vary in frequency, duration, priority and intensity- a precise desciption a persons criminal behaviour would be possible
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  •  Process of learning criminal behaviour by association with criminal and anti- criminal patterns involves all of the mchanisms that are involved in any other learning- criminal behaviour is learned just like every other behaviour.
  • while criminal behaviour is an expressio  of general needs and values, it is not explained by those general needs and values-  a theif steals in order to get money, however such an actio is not different from in the work of hoest labourer.


  • devience occurs when people define a certain human situation as an appropriate occasion for violating social norms
  • definitions of the situation are acquited through an indviduals past experiences.
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