Psychology Crim Revision

  • Created by: Emily
  • Created on: 09-01-13 14:15

Key terms

Crime-An act which breaks criminal law in society. It violates social norms, religious beliefs, moral values and legal boundaries.

Recidivism-When somebody repeats a crime for which they have already been treated or punished for.

Modelling-A way of learning by imitating the behaviours of others.

Anti-social behaviour-Acting in a manor which has caused or is likely to cause harrassment, harm or distress to one or more persons not of the same household as the defendent.

Stereotyping-Classifying members of the same social group as if they were all the same.

(1) Explanations for criminal behaviour: Social Learning Theory

Works on the idea that we learn criminal behaviour from role models.

Example of learning criminal behaviour through SLT:

Attention-Sees a hero win against a villan on television.

Retention-Remembers how the hero kicked the villan

Reproduction-Kicks a classmate in the playground

Motivatio-Wants to be like the hero

Vicarious reinforcement-Saw that the hero was praised after kicking the villan and believes he will get this praise too.

Evidence for SLT:

1) Bandura (1963) found that children copied the aggressive cartoon cat rather than the adult role model. Shows that children are more likely to copy role models in the media than in real life.

2) Konijin (2007) found that social learning from video games increased aggression and greater identification led to higher aggression levels.

3) Williams (1981). Television was introduced to an island and as a result, physical and verbal aggression levels in children almost doubled.

4) Boyatiz et al (1995) Used 52 children aged 5-11 years old. Observed in a school classroom. 1/2 watched a PowerRangers episode and 1/2 didn't. The children who had watched the episode were found to have aggression levels 7 times higher than the children who didn't watch it.

5) Eron and Huesmann (1986) found that boys who watched violent television when they were younger were more likely to become violent criminals when they were older.


  • Eron and Huesmann was only correlational so the reason for their violent behaviour when they were older could have been genetic. It may not have been due to their viewing habits.
  • Williams has poor population validity as it was on a remote island so may not be generalisable to other countries/cultures.
  • Aggression could have biological causes instead.
  • SLT has practical applications-prisons could use appropriate role models for their offenders to learn their behaviour from.
  • Bandura had good reliability
  • Eron and Huesmann was longitudinal so the effects can be shown over a long period of time.
  • May not account for all crimes such as murder. More likely that the media promotes petty crimes.

(2) Explanations for criminal behaviour: Biological

  Genes-Studies such as Lagerspetz et al (1979) found that by breeding the most aggressive mice together, they could create a super-aggressive strain of mice. This shows that aggression could be hereditary. The NOS gene has also been linked with aggression in rats. Demas et al (1999) found that by


No comments have yet been made