Psychology and Crime
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)
-our subconscious: were not always sure why we do what we do
-obsessed with sexual connections
Id, ego and superego- explain moral conscious
ID- unconcious: pleasure principle, child-like, part of the mind that deals with drives and instincts
EGO- conscious side of individual, rational part, problem solving behaviors is developed. Reality
principle. Rational thinking developed in reasoning techniques used
SUPEREGO- moralizing conscious part of the mind, guilt, feelings, internalization of norms.
Malfunctioning ego or superego leads to crime
-home life: not loved, not teaching social norms= grow up real fucked up.
Problems of the unconscious
2. Personality Studies
Colours, DISC, MMPI, and CPI personality “inventory “ tests.
-looking at people’s behavior, different types of personalities.
-concept of personality studies: look at personality traits, measuring for things like paranoia,
-very useful tool for prevention to predict future type behaviors
-try to use these scales to look at negative personality traits. Trying to predict negative social
behavior and future criminology.
-HR/educational institutions are common places to use this
Importance of DSM
-Diagnostic Statistical Manual
-has descriptions of series of different types of disorders, put out a new one every 11 years, adding
and removing different disorders.
Anti-social personality disorder
-used to identifying future criminal behavior
-conditions start in childhood and carry into early adolescence and the rest of their lives
-symptoms: repeated violations of law, repeated grounds for arrest, repeated conning for profits,
use of alias name, impulsivity or failure to plan ahead, repeated physical assault, failure to have
consistent work, lack of remorse of guilt/shame.
-one of the things that’s distinct in labelling criminology
FILM: “Original Sin”
1. What support is there for heredity and crime
- People in the jail had members of immediate family also in jail
- “born evil” – some people are born bad and more likely to offend. - More genes acting the brain, by 50% of all the other genes, and if genes can affect heart why not
- Crime runs in families and there is a good amount of scientific research to prove that. Families also
however share environment as well as genes.
- Gene MAOA: brain enzyme that cause behavior. Mutation in this gene changes the chemistry of the
brain, which changed the way they connect with each other and could push a person to rage.
- In some cases there were many members of the family who have committed crime.
- -aggressive behavior as a child; acting out in school, impulsiveness, ticks, anger, unable to
concentrate, disruptive behavior.
2. What claims can be made against genetic sources of crimes?
- Unless it’s so determine behavior that overrides free will.
3. What is the danger of science judging criminal behavior?
- Labelling theory
- Juries may say their not guilty because they didn’t have any other choice, when their could have been
outside factors affecting this: more likely to let criminals go free
3. The problem with impulsivity and crime
People act without forethought
-one of the major things we can see is high levels of activity
-teenagers tend to outgrow this phase
Wilson and Herrnstein: criminals are distinct
-crime is rewarding if there is a component in terms of a conscience.
-criminal thinks different than the rest of us: believe that the long term consequences of crime are not
weighed the same in criminals with history of impulsivity. Don’t think about long term consequences,
just short-term gratification.
-High levels of impulsivity, single-parent homes, low intelligence, and learning criminal behaviors young.
-repeat criminals tend to be d