Turning to crime - cognitive

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Yochelson and Samenow - criminal thinking patterns

  • to indentify the criminal personality by looking at the roles of errors and biases in the thinking patterns of criminals
  • 255 males - black and white, various backgrounds, convicted offenders serving time in the Washington DC area. 
  • half sample considered to have some form of insanity - incapable of being held responsible due to illness
  • interviews of 14 year period
  • freudian based sessions to find root cause of their criminal behaviour
  • criminals expected to improve their behaviour by stopping the following: lying, abusing drugs and stealing hospital supplies
  • 52 thinking errors found: closed thinking, sex, external attributions, habitual anger as a constant way of life, ownership attitude, general restlessness, usually dissatisfied and irritable, want to life a life of


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