Turning to Crime

Turning to Crime

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Turning to Crime - Upbringing

Farrington - Turning to crime (upbringing)

Farrington conducted a longitudinal study looking at patterns of offending behaviour and to identify risk/protective factors and the influence of life events. 411 boys born in 1953/1954 from 6 state schools in east London were used in the sample. The study started when they were 8/9 years old. Data was collected using interview's and criminal records/statistics. He concluded that crime is caused by intergenerational transmission, large family size, poverty and poor parenting. He also concluded that the earlier the offending begins then the more likely it is to continue. As people get old they are less likely to continue in their offending behaviour. 

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Turning to Crime - Upbringing

Bandura - Turning to crime (upbringing)

Bandura conducted a lab experiment investigating the effects of role models on aggression in children. The sample was 72 boys and girls from a university nursery in America, 36 boys and 36 girls aged 3-5 years old. Each child was exposed to either a non aggressive role model, an aggressive role model or no role model. After the exposition each child was observed by 2 blind observers through a one way mirror who recorded examples of imitative and non imitative aggression. They found children who were exposed to an aggressive role model produced more aggressive acts that those exposed to a non aggressive role model or no role model. Boys were generally more aggressive than girls. This therefore shows that behaviour could be learnt from others.

(Study not done in a crime context so at end apply to turning to crime situation.) 

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Turning to Crime - Upbringing

Wikstrom - Turning to crime (upbringing)

Wikstrom did an investigation into the risk/protective factors influencing criminal behaviour. The sample was nearly 2000, year 10 pupils from Peterborough, UK. It was a cross sectional study using interviews and existing data. Wikstrom identified 3 types of criminals:

Propensity induced - Personality characteristics make it more likely that these individuals will offend.

Lifestyle dependant - These individuals have adopted a lifestyle with many high risk factors e.g use of drugs and alcohol and spending a lot of unsupervised time with peers.

Situationally limited - Crime occurs due to specific situational factors and is often opportunistic, it is unlikely to persist.

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Turning to Crime - Biology

Raine - Turning to crime (biology)

Raine studied brain dysfunction in criminals using PET scans. The experimental group was 39 males and 2 females who had been charged with murder and were pleading NGRI. Raine then put together a control group. The control group had people of the same age, same sex and 6 people with schizophrenia like the experimental group. Everyone was given a PET scan while doing a basic concentration task. Researchers looked at scans of the cerebral cortex, when looking at the scans of NGRI group they found less activity going on in the pre-frontal cortex. Raine concluded that if the amygdala is malfunctioning then people will have powerful mood swings and wont experience fear. He also found that people with a malfunctioning pre-frontal cortex such as Phineas Gage will have problems dealing with rational thought and moral judgement.

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Turning to Crime - Biology

Daly and Wilson - Turning to crime (biology)

Daly and Wilson carried out a correlation study looking at homicide rates and life expectancy in Chicago. Researchers took their data from a recent population census and compared it to police and school records on crime, delinquency and truancy. They focused on the community areas that had low average life expectancy (54-77 years). They found a negative correlation, the lower the life expectancy then the higher the homicide rate. They suggested that young men have a "short time horizon" and they want instant gratification rather than delayed pleasure so they take risks for short term rewards. Another negative correlation is the lower the life expectancy then the higher the truancy from school. This could be because they see little point in working hard for a short future.

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Turning to Crime - Biology

Christensen - Turning to crime (biology)

Christiansen did an important twin study in Denmark looking at 3586 pairs of twins, born between 1881 and 1910. Denmark has for a long time kept detailed record's about peoples criminal records and mental health meaning that researchers can view it without it being confidential. Christiansen studied the concordance rate of the degree to which both twins share the same behaviour. For example if both twins have criminal convictions then that is concordance. The concordance rate for MZ (identical twins) was 52% but only 22% for DZ (non-identical twins). This therefore is a powerful argument for genes influencing criminal behaviour.


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Turning to Crime - Cognition

Kohlberg - Turning to Crime (cognition)

Kohlberg asked children to sit through a 2 hour interview. His sample was 58 boys from Chicago aged between 7 and 16. They listened to ten short stories that contained moral dilemmas. Kohlberg then asked them to give an answer and justify. From this he created his scale of moral development:

Stages 1 and 2 - Pre-conventional morality - unquestioning about right and wrong.

Stages 3 and 4 - Conventional morality - conform to society, respect authority and keep promises. 

Stages 5 and 6 - Post-conventional morality - start taking diversity into account, begin to question and even challenge society values.

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Turning to Crime - Cognition

Yochelson and Samenow - Turning to Crime (cognition)

Yochelson and Samenow believed criminals did not think the same. There sample was 255 male offenders who they counselled using Freudian techniques. These men had been judged NGRI or had been referred to the doctors. They suggested that offenders had distorted self image which results in criminal choices and denial of responsibility. They concluded that criminals have these thinking errors:

Being fearful of people and needing power and control

Not accepting responsibility for their behaviour

No empathy or trust for other people

Fantasizing about excitement of committing crimes

Yochelson and Samenow developed a cognative treatment therapy programme which was very sucessful.


 

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Turning to Crime - Cognition

Gudjohnsson - Turning to Crime (cognition)

Gudjohnsson and Bownes tested 80 convicts in Northern Ireland prisons using psychometric test that measured where your natural tendency is to lay blame. Group 1 were 20 violent offenders with a mean age of 29. Group 2 were 40 sex offenders. Group 3 were 20 property offenders. They found that sex offenders showed the most guilt and property offenders the least. In a comparative study, English offenders showed similar scores except for violence where Irish prisoners showed less guilt. This shows consistency in the way offenders attribute blame for their crimes.

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