Within the
approach to criminal behaviour there are a number of ways that you can explain
the behaviour of criminals which are the psychodynamic, biological and
behavioural. With each of the explanations, many people have researched into it
to find reasons in why people commit crimes.

psychodynamic approach tells us that it’s all maladaptive behaviour in
adulthood is a result of childhood traumas or experiences. Sigmund Freud
believed that childhood traumas would be suppressed into our unconscious mind
in which they would remain there but will be shown in our adult behaviour. The
tem maladaptive means that it’s not adapting to the situation such as not
dealing with circumstances. The founding father of psychodynamic constructed
the human personality as the Psyche and it being made up of three parts; the ID
which is the primal desires and basic nature, Ego which is the reason and
self-control, the superego which is the quest for perfection.

The ‘ID’ is
primitive which is an inherited personality and lives in the unconscious mind,
this will motivate the impulse control to carry out what the person wants to do
which will result in an impulse disorder. The ID demands immediate satisfaction
and will operate on the pleasure principle which will mean that every desire
should be satisfied regardless of the consequence. To add, the ‘Ego’ develops
in order to meditate between the unrealistic ID and the external real world, it
controls the decision making component of the personality. This operates
according to the reality principle and working out realistic ways of satisfying
the IDs demand which is comprising of satisfaction to avoid negative
consequence of the society. Furthermore, the ‘Superego’ controls the IDs
impulses including the ones which are forbidden by society such as sex and
aggression. It aims to guide the ego the make decisions that would consider
morals not just reality. This consists of the conscience, idea self and the
morality principle. The 3 parts of the Psyche exist on different levels of the
consciousness according to Freud. He also stated that there was a defence
mechanism that would explain how our conscious awareness is protected from the
traumas and desires within our unconscious.

psychodynamic approach to explain the criminal behaviour has many explanations
with one being that the tripartite personality which consists of the ID, Ego
and the Superego. This approach can offer the explanation for psychopathy, when
the ego is weak it can be dominated by the IDs. If it becomes dominated by the
ID it will result in selfish behaviours and would likely carry out their
deepest darkest desires of the ID, this person is likely to demonstrate
psychopathic behaviours and ignore the consequence of their actions and lacking
the conscience or ability to emphasise with their actions. This will be
supported by Bowlby’s research in which he believed that the relationship
between infants and its mother during the first 5 years is the most crucial to
socialization. When there was disruption to the relationship he believed it
will cause a higher chance of juvenile delinquency, emotional difficulties and
antisocial behaviour. He wanted to test hid hypothesis by studying 44
adolescent juvenile delinquents in a child guidance clinic, his aim would be to
investigate long terms effects of maternal deprivation on the 44 people to see
if they suffered from deprivation. Moreover, the maternal deprivation
hypothesis breaks the bonding with the child during the early stages of its
life may be likely to cause serious effect to intellectual, social and
emotional development of the child.

He carried
out the experiment by interviewing the 44 people who had been referred to a
child protection program in London due to them being thieves. He had also
collected anther group of 44 children to act as his control group, these were
children who had emotional problems but were yet to commit any crimes. Then he
would interview the parents from both groups to state if the children had any
separation during the first 5 years of their lives. His findings showed that
more than half of the juvenile thieves had been separated from their mothers
for longer than 6 months within the first 5 years of their lives. With the
control group it was shown that only 2 children had been separated from their
mothers in the first 5 years of their lives. Also, there were several thieves
in the group that showed affectionless psychopathy. He had carried out another
experiment with 60 children which showed that children who spent time apart
from their mothers in a tuberculosis sanatorium before 4 had lower achievement
in school. In conclusion to his experiment he found that affectionless
psychopaths show little concern to others and are unable to form relationships.
He had also suggested the reason for anti-social behaviour and emotional
problems in the first group stemmed from the child having maternal deprivation.

Overall, this
approach to the criminal behaviour can be evaluated by the strengths and
weaknesses of it. With Freuds theory it was conducted on middle aged and middle
classed women form Vienna, this theory also shows that it has gender bias and
cultural bias. Due to the study being conducted in Vienna and only women which
means that it cannot be based on everyone. The theory that Freud introduced of
the Psychodynamic has some problems within it as it was conducted in the late
1800s and early 1900s which results in the approach being influenced by the era
such as the women’s role in society to be a mother and to for them to look
after the children and nothing else. This can suggest that the psychodynamic
approach has some form historical bias. To add, the psychodynamic approach
doesn’t have any empirical evidence because you cannot scientifically prove the
unconscious mind and there is not scientific evidence to support this.
Furthermore, the use of Nature and Nurture had been used with Freuds theory as
well as him using the childhood experiences to show it will affect the
development of the personality. But with his theory he suggested that people
didn’t have the choice of free will as the behaviour has been determined

approach to the criminal behaviour is the behavioural approach and is that all
human behaviour, criminal or other has an environmental cause. This is either
through classical conditioning, operant conditioning or social learning, this
approach suggests that all of our behaviour is a result of differences within
our environment.

classical conditioning is a learning process that will occur when two stimuli
are repeatedly paired, the response which is first elicited by the second
stimulus is eventually elicited by the first stimulus alone. There will be
learning through association. Also, the stimulus theory which was carried out
by Watson and Rayner is a highly unethical study on a child called Albert, they
wanted to use Classical conditioning to make him have a phobia. They had
initially introduced Albert to a series of animals including white rat, Albert
shared no fear of any of the animals, so they established he didn’t have a
phobia. Watson and Rayner then paired the white rat with the clashing of metal
bar behind him. The loud noise frightened him, they continue to pair the loud
noise the rat. Once a few trials had continued it was discovered that Albert
had became scared when he saw the white rat even when the bar was no longer
struck.  This had been successful in
conditioning a phobia into Albert.

There is
also operant conditioning suggests that the behavioural explanation tells us
that we will repeat behaviours if we are rewarded and discontinue behaviours if
we are punished. The positive reinforcement will encourage the continuation of
good behaviour such as a merit system used in schools, in comparison there is a
negative reinforcement that is a threat which causes us not to commit a crime
as there is a fear of prison and the punishment will prevent the behaviours. Skinner
had developed a box that would study observable behaviour rather than internal
mental events. It was originally used on rats or pigeons which contained a
lever and when the rat or pigeon accidentally knocked the lever a food pellet
would be released. The animal will then hit the lever on purpose and will be
rewarded with food which is known as positive reinforcement, this encourages
the animal to repeat the behaviour. This explains the criminal behaviour as at
a young age, if you seen someone being rewarded for acting violent you will
want to repeat that act to improve their situation. This shows that when
someone is introduced to aggressive behaviour they’ll get a reward for doing
it, thus continuing to do it as they are rewarded for it due to them not be
arrested for it.

The social
learning theory believes that we learn through observation and we model the
behaviours from others, we learn vigorously when we see other people being
rewarded for it thus we are more likely to copy what they do.

Bandura carry out an experiment called the ‘Bobo doll Experiment’ in which we
investigated if social behaviours, which are aggressive, can be copied by
observation and imitation. A doll would be placed in a room and a person will
hit and if the child hit the doll it proved the theory. It started by them
placing 24 children in a room seeing a male or female acting aggressive towards
the doll, another 24 would see a male or female behaving nicely towards the
doll. Whereas 24 more children were not exposed to anyone else’s behaviour. All
the groups had shown ‘mild aggression arousal’, the experimenter told each
child that it was their best toys just for them. The next room had aggressive
and non-aggressive toys, the child will be observed and rated for 20 minutes
for every 5 seconds which counted for 240 responses. Banduras findings show
that children who observed aggressive models would be more aggressive to the
doll compared to the non – aggressive groups and the control groups, to add the
boys would be more physically aggressive than the girls. This contributes to
the explanation of the criminal behaviour, if the children had been exposed to
an aggressive model they were more likely to become criminals as they believe
that is how you’re supposed to behave if there is violence showed.

approach to criminal behaviour can be evaluated as it being a reductionist which
means it will reduce the explanation for the complex behaviour such as violence
and aggression as it results from the influences from our surroundings. Another
explanation for it is considered as deterministic which suggests that being
around a violent person means we will become violent but this in turn ignores
our free will to choose. In addition, Bandura’s approach to it is seen as
unethical as the psychologists must follow a strict code that demands them to
protect to subjects. This was evident as he didn’t protect the people from
psychological harm and this resulted in children being taught to be violent. In
his study it was revealed that it lacked the ecological validity due to it not
reflecting everyday life as it was conducted in a lab where they were shown an
adult acting aggressive to toys. Therefore, when they were in the lab they
could have been acting on what may have been expected from then and not what
they had learned from the aggressive man or women. The strengths of this
include that the classical and operant conditioning had been successful in
applying it to his theory and the uses of the scientific methods of research
resulted in the experiments being objective, measureable and observable.
However there will be weaknesses as this approach had focused a lot on the
nurture side which is suggesting that all the behaviour is learned but other
elements of the body such as our biology doesn’t influence the behaviour. This
has been shown by the people learning from others to get rewards such as food
pellets in the Skinner box. Another weakness can be that animals were used in
the approach which raised ethical problems, the animals had no choice in taking
part of the experiment and it cannot be used to show the criminal behaviour in
humans as it’s not them taking part. The study itself shows that the children
are easily influenced to copy someone on seeing them doing it which suggests
that when they see someone being aggressive they will do the same and this can
be projected into the adult life which may result in them becoming criminals.

The final
approach to the criminal behaviour is biological. The belief of the biological
approach is that all behaviour, criminal or otherwise has a biological cause.
If its genetic, the brain structure, brain chemistry or through ill health,
according to this approach all our behaviour is caused by the difference within
our biological make up.

biological explanation suggests that criminal behaviour will be caused through
a genetic link, if this is the case we will expect to see other family members
also demonstrating the criminal behaviour. Also, neuropsychologists may suggest
that criminal behaviour may be a result of a development issue within the
structures of the brain. It may be a result of brain damaged caused by trauma
or a tumour. Brain chemistry suggests that are changes in the chemical balance
of neurotransmitters in the brain which result in abnormal behaviour. Also, the
criminal behaviour can be caused by ill health which ranged from tumours,
hormonal imbalances amongst other things.

Cesare Lombroso’s idea of the cause of criminal behaviour was that criminals
have the same physical characteristics as each other and those characteristics
include bumpy face, broad nose, pointy fingers but there is a lot more in that
list. Also, he believed this came from being like the ‘primitive man’ which is
known as Atavism. To add, these criminals were not biologically developed like
the modern man, so he called them ‘Born Criminals’ who had com from degenerate
families with insanity, deafness, epilepsy and alcoholism among family members.
He had also believed that the criminals looked like animals. Lombroso became
convinced that tattooing was a part of criminality, so he went to a prison to
make observations and assumed criminals had a high tolerance of pain so that’s
why they had tattoos. Lombroso’s theory some became unreliable as he only made
the studies on criminals and no one else which meant he couldn’t compare the
results. A man called Charles Goring took interest in Lombroso’s and decided to
examine more closely some of his conclusions. He studied thousands of prisoners
in British jails, he compared the physiological traits of them to the members
of a military unit. He found no evidence that would support Lombroso’s theory,
Goring proved that atavism had no scientific support and discredited Lombroso’s
idea of a ‘Born Criminal’.

Sheldon’s theory for criminal behaviour was our body shape and personality, he
had would examined the relation between physical characteristics and
personality among males. In the 1940s, Sheldon research several hundred
juvenile offenders in Boston by paying close attention to the structure of
their body. He would take over 4,000 photos of naked men in a frontal view as
well as a profile view. He found 3 body types, mesomorph, endomorph and
ectomorph. Also, he identified 650 possible personality traits. The average
delinquent tended to be heavily mesomorphic and rarely ectomorphic. Another
researcher Gluek, continued Sheldon’s research and found similar results of the
body shape, they found that 60% of delinquents were mesomorph and
non-delinquents were 31%. Also, if Sheldon’s conclusion were not subjective his
use of the 4000 photos can be a large sample which contributes to reliable
research in the future. There is also gender bias as Sheldon’s work only
consisted of male students which cannot generalise this to the females and the
population beyond the male students. Moreover, the study lasted 8 years which
is a strength to the research as it gives time to analyse all the data he
collected and for him to conclude it.

The final
theory to criminal behaviour is Theilgaard’s research in 1984. Theilgaard
studied the personality traits of XXY men to XY men, the men that had the extra
X chromosome inherited it from their mothers and had feminine features compared
to men that had the XY or XXY chromosomes. The aim was to test the
aggressiveness of the XXY males with the XY males through a controlled. In
Theilgaard’s research it revealed that the men with the XXY chromosome tended
to be taller than the average male, this meant that the males were prone to
being clumsy. In her research, she also studied men with the XXY chromosome
revealed their testosterone levels were average which shows the aggressiveness
of males and their behaviours. With the XXY men they were shown to have poor
test scores for their intelligence, but it didn’t show any evidence that could
show the IQ of the XXY people had lower than average scores. Theilgaard then
went out to test the personality traits of the different types of men, she
discovered that the XXY men were ‘a difficult child’ and they had problems
during their schooling. They were shown to be loners, unrealistic future
expectations and had sudden violent or aggressive states. But her research did
not show that the XXY males were common in prison.

then used a TAT test (Thematic Apperception Test) that was a test that will
show the inner psychological states through word association, this allowed
Theilgaard to produce a psychological profile and for her to evaluate the
behaviour of the XXY men. Once she had completed the test, the test had shown
the XXY men have a higher tendency to violence compared to the other men. These
kinds of men were known to be immature, insecure and often rude to others. The explanations
to the criminal approach is that the men with the XXY chromosome had been
arrested more compared to the other types of men but the conviction rate was
not higher than the others. In an AAP test it showed the XXY men were more
aggressive and stated as being bullies, once they had been taken to the
aggressive wards they were more apt to the reaction time of their situation.
She later used a Rorschach inkblot test which gave a correct correlation to the
TAT test which is supporting the aggression for the XXY males. But she had
discovered that they were not more likely to carry out violent acts compared to
the others. This study cannot be generalised to the rest of the population as
it was only used on men which results into it being gender bias also this was
only used on a control group so it hasn’t been applied to everyone. This is
also unreliable due to the study wasn’t proven to being right.

Overall this
approach to criminal behaviour has some strong evidence to support with
Sheldon’s as the further research conducted by Gluek proves it and is has
scientific influence due to them using the data recorded from the experiments
to measure it, the experiments have been conducted multiple times to provide
the reliability for it. This approach has also lead to people being treated for
having abnormal behaviour instead of being discarded by society and has also
giving the explanation for the cause of the behaviours. Another argument for
this approach is that it has focused on the nature and nurture side of it
instead, this has also used the genetics of people, neurology of people and
hormones to explain the behaviour of criminals. The problem with this approach
is that it hasn’t broadened it out to the rest of the population and only uses
it for a select amount of people which doesn’t apply for everyone. To add,
Lombroso did have some methodological flaws as much of his criminal sample did
have physical disabilities which may have influenced the results as they will
have differences in the face. His research did not account for the fact that
his criminal participants had shared many physical characteristics which didn’t
make them criminals.

With all the
approaches to criminal behaviour there are many similarities and differences
with them. The Biological and Behavioural approaches are both reductionist
which means that it focuses heavily on the scientific aspect and that it will
place them into parts to understand them easily. This simplifies the human
behaviour into something that it actually is and it tends to ignore other
factors present. In the behavioural approach it ignored the behaviour of the
human mind and reduced it to the mind of animals and small children to which
the research had only been based on. To add, the biological approach had
disregarded the environment as well as the influences on our lives. The
psychodynamic approach had stated that all the causes for the behaviour is
because of the biological factors such as hormones and genetics. Another
similarity is that the biological and behavioural are deterministic as well as
they both lack free will. This doesn’t allow our free will to be used and that
the future is only determined by the explanation of human behaviour, the
behaviourist believe that you are by only the environment you grow up in. This
suggests that the criminals are criminals only because of their environment
when they were children and don’t have a choice. Similarly the biological
approach states that you are born a criminal without a choice. Furthermore,
psychodynamic approach states that our criminal behaviour is influenced by our
childhood but we have the free will to deal with those problems.

similarities can be that the biological and behavioural has a lot of scientific
research with it as they were both conducted in labs which shows that the study
can be highly reliable compared to the psychodynamic which had no lab research
conducted, this only had case studies to back up the research and was mainly
used to reflect the day to day lives on individuals. However, both biological
and behaviour lack the ecological validity which shows that it doesn’t give any
representation of the real life situations. They were both conducted in labs
which will infer that they are not realistic due to them taking part in a study
which may influence how they react but this will also be in a controlled
environment so it can allow the researchers to replicate the study, this can
make the study more reliable. The biological and behaviour has empirical
evidence to support the approach as there is high amounts of scientific
evidence to support it, for example the behavioural approach with Bandura had
him to set up a lab to conduct his experiment with vigorous analysis to support
it. To add, Sheldon’s research had been carried out for 8 years which will give
the theory a lot of evidence in supporting it as he has a long time to evaluate
the data collected. The psychodynamic approach however lacks the empirical
evidence as it had no lab research and was only based on the case studies in
Vienna which cannot be assumed for everyone else as it was on women as well.
The final similarity is that they all have historical bias as the research
conducted was very old which only represents the time period it was conducted
in and is no longer relevant. The psychodynamic approach that Freud had
conducted had been used in the late 1800s and early 1900s which takes into
account for the historical bias as the role of women is very different compared
to the world today. Furthermore, the biological approach also has historical
bias as Lombroso the research has now been discredited due to it being done so
long ago, such as him believing criminals had tattoos due to them having a high
pain tolerance but as we know today many people with tattoos are not all
criminals. The Behavioural approach again has historical bias in which Bandura
conducted was used when television was first introduce that suggests that
television has changed dramatically since then which influences the historical

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