The Theories of Crime

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What do biological theories suggest about criminals?
They are born
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What does it suggest crime is shaped by?
Nature not nurture
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What does early resarch link crime to?
Head and body shape
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What does more recent research suggest?
That genes eg:NOS1, create a tendency to violence and risk taking
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What was the % of adopted sons with a criminal record have a biological parents who is a criminal?
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What is the % of criminals who have an adoptive parent with a criminal record?
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What does Eysenck suggest?
They suggest that if one's genes create an extrovert and or psychotic personality, then one is more likely to become a criminal than if one is born with a different personality.
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What did he find?
prisoners score more highly on extrovertism than did non-criminals
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What doesbiological theory point towards?
Innate brain structures and hormones being related to criminality
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What do MRI scans of criminals show thier brains are?
structurally different from non-criminals
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What do criminals have high level of?
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For example?
Some criminals show a lack of frontal cortex functioning
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due to?
Raine's research
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Who did he research?
Herbert Weinstein
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What did he do?
He strangelled his wife and then threw her from a high rise building
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What did Raine find out about him?
He had no history of violence and in his brain scan he had a cyst growing on his frontal cortex.
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He was not in control of his actions
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Where does the support for the biological theory come from?
Recent work by Raine et al
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Who were sent for brain scans in his study?
a number of teenagers diagnosed with conduct disorder on the DSM had MRI scans
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What were the scans compared to?
the brains of 'normal' teenagers
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What did they find?
the two areas of the brain were smaller in those diagnosed with conduct disorder
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What were these two sctructures called?
the amygdala and the insula
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What were these responsible for>
emotions and empathy
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What did Raine also find?
children aged 3 were children who went on to become criminals, showed a lack of fear conditioning
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what does this research suggest?
The biological theory may help explain the aggression and the lack of guilt often linked to criminal behaviour
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In terms of methodology, What was the biological theory?
It was scientific and thus high on reliability
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What were used?
Control groups of non criminals enables comparisons to be made
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for example?
the brains of psychopaths can be compared to the brain of non psychopaths
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How is this research done?
It is done under strict lab conditions
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Therefore, what would it be low in?
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Crimes are not committed in lab conditions, they are committed in real life settings
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what other issues are involved?
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Raine could not tell the police what he had found out by interviewing the people in a job center on the crimes that they have comitted, such as **** or attempted homocide
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What is a weakness of the biological view?
It is deterministic
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What does it assume?
a criminal can't chose not to commit a crime
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What does this suggest
that criminals have no free will. which in turn raises serious ethical issues
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for example?
how should a psychopath like Brian dugan, who has a faulty amygdala be sentenced?
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What could one argue?
that a psychological and social theories of crime ae equally deterministic
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What does the psychological theories suggest?
criminals are made, and that nurture determines criminality rather than nature
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What is social learning theory based on?
Bandura's Bobo doll study
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What does this argue?
people learn to be criminals through observation and imitation of criminal role models
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What might a child see?
A parent being rewarded for criminal behaviour such as stealing leading to a high standard of living.
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Through what way can a child learn to steal?
Vicarious reinforcement
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What do some researchers suggest?
Obseration of criminal role models on TV can lead to imitation and thus criminality
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What is another psychological theory?
self-fulfilling prophecy
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What is self fulfilling prophecy?
When someone is labelled as something such as aggressive, then the child would want to live up to that
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What is self fulfilling prophecy supported by?
recidivism- Once labelled a criminal he image is hard to shift as other people reinforce it with their behaviour towards to criminal
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Where does support for the psychological theory come from?
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What did she find?
aggression in children in a Canadian town doubled after TV was introduced
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What does this sugges?
that aggressive behaviour was increased due to the aggressive role models the chirldren watched in TV and films
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what do social explanations suggest?
Nurutre in criminal behaviour
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for example?
A child brought up in deprived family conditions is more likely to become criminal than another child
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What does this mean that crime is linked to?
homes/families which are poor and unemployed, and where harsh physical discipline is used with little supervision
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When is social explanations for crime likely to occur?
If the home is full of conflict and includes 4+children, and if the child is failing at school
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In families like that what is there less control of?
whether a child is watching a violent and or **** films
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For example?
The Doncaster brothers?
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What were they subjected to?
Watching *********** films and violent horror films, saw the father hold a knife to the mother, a family of 7 kids, in foster care
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Where does support for the social theory come from?
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What study did he conduct?
a longitudinal study of 411 white boys born in 1946
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What was found out?
40% had criminal records at the age of 48
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What % of boys have since become chronic offenders?
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What have they committed?
Half the offences in the whole group
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When were these boys usually convicted by?
before 21
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What else?
a criminal parent, had impulsive personalities, had a young mother, had an unstable, poor large family and had not done well at school
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What does this suggest about criminals?
are made by their environment and people are not born criminals
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In terms of methodology, what is the social, psychological theory high in?
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During the research parents and teachers are often interviewed in depth about a pp
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However what are both studies based on?
based on correlation
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What does this show a link between?
crime and other factors such as Tv viewing and family life, but this does not prove there is a causal link
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For example?
There may be a link between watching tv violence and violent behaviour but perhaps already violent people are attracted to watching violence
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What was the weakness of all these theories and crime?
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They each point to a narrow range of factors as being the cause of crime
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what does this suggest?
people are born with NOS1, a small amygdela or an extrovert personality, but if these people are then brought up with criminal role models and in deprivation they may all turn to crime
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What are the causes of criminal behaviour in one person?
They may be quite different from the causes in another person due to individual difference
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What do any one of these theories suggest?
A huge oversimplification and only a combination of theories can fully explain the causes of crime
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What does it suggest crime is shaped by?


Nature not nurture

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What does early resarch link crime to?


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Card 4


What does more recent research suggest?


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What was the % of adopted sons with a criminal record have a biological parents who is a criminal?


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