Turning to crime: Upbringing

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Yochleson and Samenow: A study of thinking pattern

Aim: To understand the make-up of criminal personality 

Method: Interviews as part of a rehab programme for 14 years 

Participants: 255 males (black, white, wealthy, poor, sane and insane) 

Selected findings: 

Certain characterisitics were common: 

- Restless and irratable - Wanting excitement - Angry - Lacking empathy 

Only 3/255 completed interviews 

P's would lie to help there situation 

Conlusions: 52 thinking patterns in total were found - they argued these were not unique to criminals but were seen more commonly in criminals 

Findings suggest: being incarcerated exaggerates mindset. Lower than average IQ's. Used to lying. 

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Kohlberg: Moral development in children

Aim: To find evidence to support the idea of the stages of moral development

Participants: 58 boys from chicago aged 7, 10, 13 and 16 

Method: 2 hour interviews based on 10 dilemmas that they had to solve. Some of the boys were interviewd at 3 yearly intervals up to the age of 30-36 years. Later Kohlberg extended his research to include UK, Mexico and Turkey 


- The response were interpreted using his 6 stages of moral development 

- Younger boys performed at stage 1 and 2 while older boys at stage 3 and 4 (supporting development through the moral stages)

- Kohlberg suggested that tthere was no separate stage 6 and he amended his theory 

 Conclusions: resullts were consitent across cultrures which increases the validity of his theory. The methodology was criticised but later replications on criminals suggested that those committing crime for financial gain functioned at lower levels of morality 

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Gudjohnsson and Brownes: The attribution of blame

Aim: To examine the relationship between the type of offence and the attributions offenders make about their criminal act them cross-validate earlier findings on English sample 

Methodology: Gudjohnsson and Singh "42 item blame attribution inventory" was used to measure the offenders type of offence and attribution of blame on three dimensions: internal/ external, mental element and guilt

Participants: 80 criminals in a Northern Ireland divided into groups: 

1. 20 committed violent offences 2. 40 sex offenders 2. 20 porperty offences


- Those who committed sexual offences showed the most remorse where as property offenders showed the least - Very little difference found between mental element - When compared to Engish findings Irish violent offenders showed lower guilt and higher external attirbution scores 

Conclusions: The findings show strong consistency with earlier findings across the offender groups which suggests  string consistency in the way offenders attribute blame for their crimes 


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