Theories of Crime:



  • Homo-deliquents were a seperate, more primitave form of human. Tended to have physical and psychological features such as the narrow-sloping brows and how they couldn't distinguis right from wrong.
  • These individuals were predisposed to animal behaviour. Although, his studies did have problems with ethical issues as they could lead to prejudice, he createrd stereotypes which may lead to discrimination.
  • There is also no evidence to support Lombroso's theories as there is no correlation between physical features and criminals.
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NOS1 Gene:

  • May be a gentic component to criminality: family studies have found that criminal behaviour tends to run in families: supports the idea that there is a genetic component linking criminal behaviour.
  • Further research has been carried out by NOS1 that states the gene has been linked to criminality as a connection has been made between the gene and aggressiveness in animal cases. Suggests that the gene could also be linked to aggressiveness in humans.
  • Although, this study is difficult to generalise to humans and some studies have found an association between one part of the gene and high levels of aggression in humans SUPPORTING the theory of the NOS1 gene, particularly in crimes that involve aggression.
  • These two biological theories are both deterministic because they both suggest that individuals are born criminals i.e. they either already have the NOS1 gene or they look like a criminal (Lombroso's theory) and this is a deterministic view as it sugggests that criminals do not have free will in determining if they're going to become a criminal or not.
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Psychological Theory: Bowlby:

  • Maternal Deprivation Hypothesis (Bowlby): suggested that if a child is unable to develop a war, intimate & continuous relationship with their mother, then they'll grow up to have behavioural difficulties in later life.
  • This hypothesis supports Bowlby's study of the 44 Thieves where he found that 86% of the children who had been identified as 'affectionless psychopath' thieves that they had experienced prolonged seperation (compared to 4% in the controls) - these findings support the hypothesis which suggests that there might be a link between early seperation & later emotional maljustice.
  • The evidence from Bowlby's study is correlational as previously stated & shows a link between criminality and seperation, but one may not cause the other.
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Psychological Theory: Freud:

  • States that a weak ego (work of Freud from the psychodynamic approach) may the cause of criminal behaviour.
  • If the ID dominates, immoral behaviour may lead to a psychopathic person. Although, if the superego dominates, this could mean a long-term negative emotional state.
  • Also some crimes may be explained in terms of fixation at a certain psychosexual stage. E.G Ian Huntley (Soham murderer) put himself at the forefront of police investigators into the murder as he appeared on TV & turned up to all press conferences - could be explained as a fixation in the phallic stage.
  • A strength of this theory is that it does address the emotional factors - although, a weakness is that it doesn't account for all crimes, E.G. White-collar crimes which are carried out because the culprit wants a profit.
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Bandura's Social Learning Theory:

  • Suggests that aggressiveness and abnormal behaviours can be learnt through observation and that role models have an influence on our behaviour (i.e. celebrities, parents, friends etc). The learner will observe and imitate another i.e. role model.
  • Motivation to immitate this behaviour may come from direct reinforcement.
  • Evidene to support this theory comes from films such as "Natural Born Killers" which appear to have inspired real life events - meaning that they have important implications for violence in the real world, through media.
  • Further evidence from laboratory experiments such as the Bo-Bo doll study lack ecological validity as they may not be representative of real life acquisition of criminal behaviour.
  • Other research from natural experiments have found a correlation between the media and violence, suggesting that there may be other factors affecting the way that people behave.
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