Theories of crime

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P1 - Intro

Attempted to explain criminal behaviour in many different ways

Biological theory suggests criminal tendencies are due to genes and hormones

Psychological theory believes self-fulfiling prophecy causes criminality 

Social appraoch suggests behaviour is altered by our environment 

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P2 - Family patterns

One bilogical factor that plays a role in criminality 

Osborn & West (1979) - only 13% of sons with non-criminal fathers had convictions whereas 20% of sons with criminal fathers did

Adoption studies allow psycholigists to investigate if behaviour is product of nature or nurture 

Mednick et al (1987) - studied convictions in 14,000adoptees and found more support for biological influences of criminality 

Findingds replicated by Bohman (1996) found 12% of sons whose biological parents have a criminal record go on to get one themselves compared to just 7% whose adoptive parents have record 

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P3 - Hormones

Role of hormones influences criminality

Testosterone found in both sexes but males have 10x more 

Dabbs et al (1995) - male prisoners who committed non-violent crimes have higher testosterone levels than those who committed non-violent crimes 

Dabbs & Hargrove - same relationship found in female prisoners

However, Dabbs' work only shows weak patterns suggesting other factors such as environment are also important 

Possible more criminal genes to be discovered - strengthens biological case

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P4 - Psychological appraoches

Appraoches take on diffrent views including crime rates being due to self-fulfilling prophecy

Suggests that stereotypes can affect person they are held against & make them respond in ways which reflect behaviour expected of them

For crime, SFP suggests expectations cause people to behave in criminal way as stereotypes change social interactions

Madon et al (2003) - mother's who believed child would drink more often had expectations confirmed 

However, negtive expectations can affect person's self-concept so we should resist labelling child a problem 

SFP also explains recidivism 

Once someone labelled as criminal, label difficult to shift - effects how others behave towards you

Leads to being more likely to fill expectations laid out about them

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P5 - Social appraoch

Suggest that behaviour is affected mainly by society

Bandura (1977) - beahviour is replicated from role models 

External motivation comes from vicarious reinforcement such as gains from theft
Internal motivation comes from identification with the model
Children surrounded by criminals likely to be both internally/externally motivated to imitate
Individuals with low self estreem more likely to imitate behaviour and this characteristic is associated with criminality 

However, lab experiments such as Bandura's may not represent the acquisition of behaviour in real life
Boys in study were more aggresive than girls, suggesting other factors (hormones) could effect behaviour displayed 
Theory has highlighted importance of regulating exposure to models
Done through television watershed and in use of film & TV classification 

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