Theories of Crime

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Criminal behaviour runs in families.....
Children of parents who have criminal records are more likely to have a criminal record themselves.
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Osborn & West
Found that 13% of sons with non-criminal fathers had criminal records, while 20% of sons of criminal fathers had records.
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Farrington (2002)
Investigated concentration of criminal behaviour in families, 3 generations of relatives, if one relative had been arrested, there was a high probability that another relative had also been arrested.
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The Father...
was the most important relative; if they had been arrested, there was a high chance of sons being arrested. But, having a young mother and living in a bad neighbourhood added to the probability, confusing the issues of genes and environment.
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Genetics
should be able to identify which one leads to behaviour, Retz et al - variant of 5-HTTLPR gene & violent behaviour, Reif et al - NOS1 gene & aggression in animals,lead to links between NOS1 gene & impulsivity in humans.
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Physiological/Chemical Factors
based around theories of abnormal brain functioning or neurotransmitter levels causing changes in behaviour, possibly leading to criminal activity.
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Neurotransmitters
such as serotonin have been associated with a lack of control which could lead to anti-social and criminal behaviour. Low serotonin turnover is linked to aggressiveness.
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Moeller et al
Men with unbalanced diets, resulting in low serotonin levels, more aggressive soon after eating. Contradicts biological theories implying that diet (environmental factor) could be a key factor in aggression & crime.
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Brunner et al
Aggressive families, linked to a mutation of a gene which helps with serotonin turnover, mutation was associated with a lack of the enzyme required to break down serotonin, should reduce not increase if serotonin could not be broken down.
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Testosterone & Dabbs
Associated with aggression. Dabbs et al found that male prisoners who had committed a violent crime had higher testosterone levels than non-violent criminals.
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Dabbs & Hargrove
Found the same relationship in female prisoners, suggesting hormone levels are a key factor in criminal behaviour.
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Areas of the brain
Been implicated in the control, or lack of control of behaviour, so damage to these areas or impaired functioning could increase the likelihood of criminal tenancies.
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Raine et al
researched the brains of criminals by using PET scans to compare brain activity in murderers and normal individuals. They found differences in the pre frontal cortex and the amygdala.
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Bowlby (Psychological)
"children have a biological need to attach to one person and they are pre-programmed to make such an attachment". Maternal deprivation (failure to develop an attachment bond/separation) = delinquent behaviour.
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Affectionless Psychopathy
Arises from deprivation, key symptoms = a lack of empathy and inability to feel guilt – factors which may increase the likelihood of becoming involved with crime.
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Bowlby's 44 juvenile theives
Found that 14 out of the 44 had affectionless psychopathy and 12 experienced prolonged separation from their mother in the first two years, providing strong support for Bowlby’s maternal deprivation hypothesis.
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Correlational data
only shows a relationship between these two variables. Other external variables, such as diet, parental income, education etc. may have affected the behaviour of the 44 thieves, and not, as concluded, the disruption of the attachment bond.
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Harlow's research with monkeys
Found that monkeys reared in isolation never formed an attachment and so grew up to be aggressive, however this study was conducted using animals so should not be applied to humans.
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Bandura (SLT)
children whose parents are criminals or who are surrounded be other role models who are criminals are likely to be externally or internally motivated to imitate this behaviour.
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Motivation
External motivation=Direct (gains from theft),Vicarious (model benefit), Internal motivation= identify with a model (Bandura same sex), Individual Differences (Low self esteem = criminal behaviour)
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Williams
Physical and verbal aggression levels of children after the introduction of TV in a Canadian town almost doubled, showing that social learning influences behaviour.
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Charlton et al
no increase in antisocial behaviour after TV intro. on a small island suggesting opportunities for social learning do not always lead to negative behaviours. St Helena has particularly pro social norms, explains why children were less affected.
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Applications of findings
Importance of regulating children’s exposure to models, implemented through intro. of TV watershed at 9pm, video game & film age certificates, Anderson et al effect of playing violent video games, those who played were more aggressive.
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Criticisms of Bandura's theory
Boys more aggressive, raises questions about biological influence, lacks ecological validity carried out in a lab, hard to generalise findings to the real world.
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General Evaluation
defining crime can be difficult, definitions vary from different countries/cultures,different types of crime (e.g. violent/property crime) could have an impact on different theories of crime.
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Lyons et al
Nature & nurture factors raise issues, both play a role in criminal behaviour, investigated influence using twins, adolescence=family,adulthood without siblings=genetics
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Card 2

Front

Found that 13% of sons with non-criminal fathers had criminal records, while 20% of sons of criminal fathers had records.

Back

Osborn & West

Card 3

Front

Investigated concentration of criminal behaviour in families, 3 generations of relatives, if one relative had been arrested, there was a high probability that another relative had also been arrested.

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

was the most important relative; if they had been arrested, there was a high chance of sons being arrested. But, having a young mother and living in a bad neighbourhood added to the probability, confusing the issues of genes and environment.

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

should be able to identify which one leads to behaviour, Retz et al - variant of 5-HTTLPR gene & violent behaviour, Reif et al - NOS1 gene & aggression in animals,lead to links between NOS1 gene & impulsivity in humans.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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