Criminal Psychology Key Terms

  • Created by: nichollsa
  • Created on: 11-06-18 12:29

Criminal Psychology Key Terms

Defining criminal behaviour

Violent offences: Aggressive crimes resulting in physical harm or death to the victim

Drug related offences: Crimes involving trading in or using illegal substances

Acquisitive offences: Crimes where capital or belongings are acquired through illegal means e.g. theft

Sexual offences: Crimes where a victim is forced to commit or submit to a sexual act against their will

Anti-social offences: Criminal acts that cause harassment, alarm or distress to people who do not share a home with the perpetrator

Subjectivity: Based on personal opinion rather than fact

Social construct: A concept that exists as the result of interactions between people who make up a society

Deviation from norms: when an act or behaviour goes against the accepted standards of a society

Culture: a collective set of norms and values that determine the way of life of a group of people

Anti-social behaviour: behaviour by a person which causes or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to one or more persons not of the same household as the person

Self-report: a method that involves participants reporting on themselves through answering questions

Social learning theory

Social learning theory: a theory that explains behaviour in terms of observation and imitation

Role model: a person held in esteem by another

Identification: the process where a person aligns themselves with another.

Observation: the process where people pay attention to behaviours and retain them in memory

Imitation: a process where people recall behaviours and reproduce them in their own actions

Vicarious reinforcement: when a behaviour is strengthened by an individual observing this same behaviour being rewarded in another

Direct reinforcement: when a behaviour is strengthened and likely to be repeated due to positive outcomes for the individual

Internalisation: the process whereby a behaviour becomes an integral part of


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