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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC39H3
Professor
David Nussbaum
Semester
Winter

Description
Psychology of Criminal Behaviour: A Canadian Perspective Chapter 3: Theories of Crime: Learning and Environment CHAPTER 3: Theories of Crime: Learning and Environment LEARNING OBJECTIVES 1. Describe the primary differences between psychodynamic, learning, and social learning theories of crime 2. Identify the key principles of psychodynamic theories and explain how these principles relate to our understanding of criminal behaviour. 3. Describe the major predictors of crime from the perspective of “control” theories, such as Gottfredson and Hirschi’s general theory of crime. 4. Describe the principles of classical and operant conditioning. 5. Explain the role of classical conditioning in Eysenck’s biosocial theory of crime. 6. Identify the key elements of Sutherland’s differential association theory and Akers’s social learning theory of crime. 7. Examine the personal, interpersonal, and community-reinforcement theory of crime proposed by Andrews and Bonta. CHAPTER SUMMARY In explaining the causes of crime, psychodynamic theories emphasize the inability of internal psychic forces to control antisocial impulses, learning theories emphasize the role of associative learning and stress the importance of environmental factors in shaping criminal behaviour, and social learning theories emphasize the role of vicarious conditioning in the crime acquisition process, focusing on the cognitive mechanisms that facilitate learning in social settings. Psychodynamic theories of crime are based on several key principles, including the existence of internal psychic forces, such as the id, ego, or superego, that are supposed to develop through a series of psychosexual stages and control the antisocial impulses that are assumed to be an inherent part of human nature but sometimes do not develop normally because of traumatic childhood experiences (often centring on problematic parenting practices). Many psychodynamic theories of crime can be thought of as control theories in that they emphasize factors that control people’s behaviour and prevent them from committing crime. Two of the most popular control theories are: (1) Hirschi’s social control theory, which suggests that people don’t commit crime because of the bonds they have with society, including attachments to significant others, commitment to conventional behaviour, involvement in conventional pursuits, and belief in common rule systems; and (2) Gottfredson and Hirschi’s general theory of crime, which suggests that people don’t commit crime because they possess a high degree of self-control, gained largely as a result of effective parenting practices. Classical conditioning is a form of learning that takes place when an unconditioned stimulus (e.g., food) that produces an unconditioned response (e.g., salivation) is paired Copyright © 2011 Pearson Canada Inc. 39 Psychology of Criminal Behaviour: A Canadian Perspective Chapter 3: Theories of Crime: Learning and Environment with a neutral stimulus (e.g., a tone) such that, over time, a conditioned response (e.g., salivation) is reproduced using only the previously neutral stimulus (now referred to as the conditioned stimulus). Operant conditioning, on the other hand, is a form of learning that takes place by experiencing environmental consequences caused by behaviour (e.g., reinforcement and punishment). In Eysenck’s biosocial theory of crime, he argues that criminals are deficient with respect to their conditionability, a process he thought was important in the socialization or conscience-building process. Eysenck argued that the “conscience” is essentially a set of classically-conditioned emotional responses that, when well-developed, decreases the likelihood that people will exhibit antisocial behaviour. Sutherland’s differential association theory emphasizes that criminal behaviour is learned when we interact with others, especially those who are important to us, and get exposed to a higher proportion of antisocial rather than prosocial attitudes. Akers’s social learning theory builds on differential association theory by explicitly addressing the mechanisms by which we learn to commit crime. His theory emphasizes the role of operant conditioning in the crime acquisition process, whereby people learn to commit crime as a result of a personal history of being reinforced for that activity, but also the role of vicarious conditioning, whereby people learn to commit crime by observing that activity being reinforced in other people, especially intimate personal groups. Andrews and Bonta’s PIC–R theory of crime is influenced by a behavioural and cognitive social learning perspective. The theory emphasizes many different potential paths into crime, and crime is thought to be determined both by events that precede the behaviour and by events that follow it. These events are believed to gain control over one’s behaviour primarily by signalling various rewards and costs for different classes of behaviour, which can be either additive or subtractive. The controlling properties of antecedent and consequent events are assumed to be acquired from multiple sources, including the individual, other people, the act itself, and other aspects of the situation. LECTURE OUTLINE 1. Introduction:  Psychologists attempt to explain why people get involved in crime in a few different ways.  psychologists attempt to explain criminal behaviour, focusing on theories that emphasize learning and the environment.  variables such as a lack of parental supervision, the presence of procriminal role models, and positive reinforcement from friends for committing antisocial acts affect the lives of people  three general perspectives on crime—psychodynamic, learning, and social learning perspectives—discuss specific theories that fall into each of these categories. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Canada Inc. 40 Psychology of Criminal Behaviour: A Canadian Perspective ChLearning and Environmentme:  includes Hirschi’s social control theory, Gottfredson and Hirschi’s general theory of crime, Eysenck’s biosocial theory, Akers’s social learning theory, and Andrews and Bonta’s personal, interpersonal, and community- reinforcement theory. 2. Psychodynamic Theories:  Some of the most important theories of crime in recent history draw on psychodynamic principles (Basic Psychodynamic Principles: The Id, Ego, and Superego  From a psychodynamic perspective, humans are thought to be inherently antisocial, driven by pleasure-seeking and destructive impulses  According to this perspective, crime generally occurs when these (often unconscious) impulses are not adequately controlled.  This is thought to happen when internal psychic forces tasked with the job of regulating such impulses fail to develop as they should, typically due to traumatic childhood experiences.  In examining those who have committed murder, one expert stated that there is one common characteristic . . . all the murderers were intensely tormented due to serious traumatic situations, primarily experienced in the earliest childhood  References to “inner drives,” “traumatic situations,” and “protecting defences” are commonplace in psychodynamic explanations of crime  experiences “in the earliest childhood” are important, and internal forces are meant to “curb” the potentially dangerous impulses that supposedly reside within us  Freud and his followers relied on a set of psychic structures thought to develop throughout childhood and adolescence to form a dynamic personality system  Psychoanalysts believe that pleasure-seeking and destructive impulses originate in the id, part of an individual’s personality that is present at birth and represents unconscious, primitive, and instinctual desires.  The id is thought to be governed by the pleasure principle  it seeks immediate pleasure with little consideration of the undesirable consequences that may result if an impulse is acted upon.  These potentially destructive forces are believed to be controlled in one of two ways:  Psychoanalysts believe that the activity of the id is opposed by the next personality structure to develop, the ego, which attempts to mediate between one’s primal needs and society’s demands. The ego is guided by the reality principle: its development coincides with the emergence of reality-oriented thinking and it allows the id to function in socially acceptable ways by suppressing the id’s impulses until appropriate situations arise  in challenging id drives, the ego is guided by the superego, the last of the three personality systems to develop according to psychoanalysts. The superego represents the internalization of Copyright © 2011 Pearson Canada Inc. 41 Psychology of Criminal Behaviour: A Canadian Perspective ChLearning and Environmentme: group standards, typically conveyed to the child through parental care and discipline, and it acts as a moral regulator, tasked with the job of overseeing the choices we make.  The superego is thought to consist of two sub-systems: the conscience, which allows an individual to distinguish between right and wrong and forces the ego to inhibit id pursuits that are out of line with one’s morals, and the ego ideal, which represents the socially accepted standards to which we all aspire.  Freud believed that personality development occurs across five psychosexual stages and argued that difficulties resolving conflicts within any given stage can potentially result in problems with personality development, which would be apparent in one’s behaviour.  Much of Freud’s thinking about these psychosexual stages is now incorporated into our common everyday thinking about the personalities of the people we interact with.  Problems that result in superego formation, which are generally thought to stem from a failure to identify with prosocial parental figures, are of particular interest to those attempting to develop explanations of crime.  psychoanalysts have proposed three main sources of criminal behaviour, each relating to inadequate superego formation. Stage Description: oral  Begins at birth and ends around age one to one-and-a-half.  The child is preoccupied with seeking gratification through sucking and feeding.  The primary conflict is weaning, which deprives the child of sensory and psychological pleasures such as nursing and feeling cared for by the mother. Stage Description: anal  Anal Begins around age one to one-and-a-half with the introduction of toilet training and lasts until about age two to three.  The primary conflict is one of control, as the child has to learn to delay the pleasure associated with bodily expulsion. Stage Description: phallic  Phallic Begins around age two to three and lasts until age five to six. The primary conflict is sexual.  the child becomes interested in their genitals and begins to develop an unconscious desire for the opposite-sex parent and fear of retribution from the same-sex parent.  This conflict is called the Oedipus complex in boys. Through fear of castration (i.e., castration anxiety) and gradual identification with the father, which allows the boy to possess his mother vicariously, the young male becomes indoctrinated into the appropriate sexual role in life and develops a superego.  The same conflict is called the Electra complex in girls. The young female recognizes that, unlike her father, she has no penis and blames this on her mother (i.e., penis envy). By gradually identifying with the mother Copyright © 2011 Pearson Canada Inc. 42 Psychology of Criminal Behaviour: A Canadian Perspective ChLearning and Environmentme: figure, girls begin to resolve this conflict, though Freud believed that females remain slightly fixated at the phallic stage and therefore never develop as strong a superego as boys. Stage Description: oral  Latent Begins around age five to six and lasts until puberty (age twelve or later)  the sexual drive becomes de-emphasized and repressed sexual energy gets redirected to asexual pursuits such as same-sex friendships. Stage Description: genital  Begins in adolescence and lasts until adulthood.  Interest in the genitals is reborn and the individual focuses on a search for intimacy with an opposite-sex adult partner.  The energy that can be devoted to these pursuits depends on the extent to which the conflicts encountered in the previous stages have been successfully resolved.  The individual who commits crime as a result of a harsh superego is sometimes referred to as a neurotic criminal  The existence of a harsh superego is assumed to lead to pathological levels of unconscious guilt (typically over unresolved infantile desires) and criminal behaviour is meant to subconsciously invite punishment in an attempt to resolve this guilt.  Individuals who commit crime because of a weak superego are commonly associated with the psychopathic personality  Possessing a superego that fails to sufficiently regulate the primitive and instinctual needs of the id, this type of individual is typically “egocentric, impulsive, guiltless, and unempathic”  Many violent offenders, including serial killers, are often assumed to commit crimes due to a weak or underdeveloped superego.  The third type of criminal commits crime as a result of a deviant superego.  for these individuals, superego standards have developed, but those standards are thought to reflect deviant identification (i.e., identification with a deviant role model).  Freud (1916) believed that many criminals are motivated by a sense of guilt and a need to deal with this guilt by being punished through legal sanctions.  Today, psychologists generally accept that neurotic criminals of this kind are very rare, although some appear to exist. 3. Psychodynamic Theories of Crime:  While these general categories of criminal types (harsh, weak, or deviant Superegos) are useful, they provide inadequate information about the actual causes of crime, other than the fact that problems with superego development may play an important role. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Canada Inc. 43 Psychology of Criminal Behaviour: A Canadian Perspective ChLearning and Environmentme:  This simplistic approach to understanding crime also fails to address key issues with respect to what we know about criminal behaviour.  the consistent finding that males are more likely than females to commit crime does not fit well with the psychoanalytic assumption that girls are less likely than boys to develop a strong superego (due to their inability to resolve psychosexual conflicts, especially at the phallic stage)  to better understand what causes crime, at least from a psychodynamic perspective, we now turn our attention to a discussion of various theories of crime that relate to this perspective.  the influence of Freud’s ideas can be seen in many common approaches to understanding crime. Bowlby’s Theory of Maternal Deprivation  The theory of maternal deprivation, draws heavily on the psychodynamic perspective and is a popular theory for how juvenile delinquency develops.  Consistent with psychodynamic thinking, Bowlby’s view was that young children require consistent and continuous maternal care in order for them to develop normally (i.e., to resolve the many psychological conflicts that children encounter throughout their psychosexual development)  Disruption to the mother–child relationship will have many harmful and potentially irreversible long-term effects, especially in relation to the child’s ability to establish meaningful prosocial relationships.  Lacking such abilities, the child will not develop the means to control his conduct (i.e., destructive impulses) and will be more likely to exhibit antisocial patterns of behaviour  What now seems clear is that maternal deprivation is not a critical factor to a child’s healthy development (i.e., a paternal figure can provide adequate care), that any damage caused by early deprivation is not necessarily irreversible, and that the theory over-predicts juvenile delinquency given that many individuals who experience maternal deprivation do not get involved in crime. Unravelling Juvenile Delinquency: The Work of Glueck and Glueck  family discord in general (e.g., a lack of parental supervision) is associated with delinquent behavior and this variable is included in several theories of crime that have received more support than Bowlby’s theory  The work of Glueck and Glueck proposed was less a formal theory of crime and were heavily influenced by psychodynamic thinking  the primary interests were discovering the causes of crime and assessing the effectiveness of correctional treatment in controlling criminal behaviour.  One of the approaches was to conduct cross-sectional research comparing the lives of juvenile delinquents with non-juveniles  the Gluecks also conducted longitudinal research on the delinquent boys  The Gluecks took a multidisciplinary approach to examining delinquency; Copyright © 2011 Pearson Canada Inc. 44 Psychology of Criminal Behaviour: A Canadian Perspective ChLearning and Environmentme:  Based on their findings, the Gleucks were able to provide a portrait of the delinquent: these individuals are far more than the non-delinquents, are of the essentially mesomorphic [strong and muscular], energetic type, with tendencies to restless and uninhibited expression of instinctual-affective energy and to direct and concrete, rather than symbolic and abstract, intellectual expression.  It is evidently difficult for them to develop the high degree of flexibility of adaptation, self-management, self-control, and sublimation of primitive tendencies and self-centred desires demanded by the complex and confused culture of the times.  attributed the differences between delinquents and non-delinquents to parenting factors, the primary source for superego development.  The’ findings clearly indicated a marked difference between these groups across a range of parenting variables: a greater incidence of emotional disturbances, mental retardation, alcoholism, and criminality.  Parents of the delinquent boys were also less educated, less likely to stay together, and less ambitious.  the parents of the delinquents showed greater carelessness in the supervision of their children and often appeared neglectful.  a greater proportion of delinquent families were found to lack cohesiveness, warmth, and respect for the integrity of family members, and fewer of the delinquents were affectionately attached to their parents, especially their fathers.  the Gluecks proposed a “tentative causal formula” that could, in their view, be used to predict who would become engaged in juvenile delinquency.  by drawing on their physical, temperamental, attitudinal, psychological, and socio-cultural data they could make accurate predictions, from a very young age, about the likelihood of children getting involved in crime.  recent research provides support for many of the important variables associated with criminal involvement that were highlighted by the Gleucks, especially variables related to peers, family, and school Hirschi’s Control Theories  Although not traditionally considered psychodynamic theories, it has been argued that Hirschi’s control theories contain important psychodynamic themes  views all humans as having the potential to exhibit antisocial behaviour  incorporated into his theories of crime ideas about superego- and ego-type mechanisms that play a central role in controlling one’s antisocial impulses.  Although Hirschi does not appear to rely on Freudian thinking to the same extent that the Gluecks did, the major question that he considers when attempting to understand crime is a classic psychodynamic one:  it is not why people violate the law, but rather why more people don’t violate the law. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Canada Inc. 45 Psychology of Criminal Behaviour: A Canadian Perspective ChLearning and Environmentme:  According to Hirschi’s original social control theory, or social bond theory, the reason why people don’t violate the law is because of social controls, or “the bond of the individual to society”  Hirschi presented four interrelated types of social bonds that are collectively thought to promote socialization and conformity: attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief.  According to Hirschi (2002), “delinquent acts result when an individual’s bond to society is weak or broken” 1. The first bond, attachment, refers to attachment and interest in others, most importantly parents, friends, and teachers. Hirschi (2002) believed that one’s acceptance of and abidance with social norms and ideals depend on attachments to other human beings (particularly the depth and quality of such attachments). One does not commit crime, partly because one does not wish to jeopardize these valued relationships. In psychodynamic terms, attachment represents the ego- ideal. 2. The second bond, commitment, refers to the time, energy, and effort placed in conventional behaviour (e.g., “getting an education, building up a business, acquiring a reputation for virtue”; Horschi proposed social control theory to explain why people conform to societal rules. Later, he and Gottfredson proposed their general theory of crime. Hirschi argued, people who have an investment in conventional pursuits run a heightened risk of losing that investment if they become involved in crime. Commitment serves the same theoretical value as the ego, according to Hirschi. 3. The third bond, involvement, refers to the time and energy one spends taking part in activities that are in line with the conventional interests of society (e.g., school). Hirschi argues that heavy involvement in conventional activities limits the time that is available to participate in criminal pursuits, for, as Hirschi says, “[t]he person involved in conventional activities is tied to appointments, deadlines, working hours, plans, and the like” 4. belief refers to one’s conviction to the view that people should obey common rules. This entails a respect for a societal value system, including a respect for the law and institutions that enforce the law. If such beliefs are weak or totally absent, involvement in crime is assumed to be more likely. This bond has clear parallels with the conscience part of the superego.  conducted study of delinquents and non-delinquents, using a cross- sectional design  Hirschi’s analysis largely supported the core concepts of social control theory and, the major findings of the Gluecks; Andrews and Bonta and it has become the most frequently discussed and tested theory in criminology  recent research suggests that Hirschi’s theory might need to be re- assessed, at least to some extent Copyright © 2011 Pearson Canada Inc. 46 Psychology of Criminal Behaviour: A Canadian Perspective ChLearning and Environmentme:  Several findings are particularly important: 1. in Hirschi’s theory, attachment refers to one’s relationship with his/her parents, peers, and school. In each case, stronger attachments are thought to result in more conformity and less delinquency. 2. With respect to peer attachment Hirschi believed that its presence or absence was important, not whether the peers were involved in delinquent acts (i.e., even for youths who were attached to delinquent peers, the stronger the attachment, the less likely the individual was to be delinquent). 3. Now attachment to peers is thought to lead to conformity only when the peers are not delinquent 4. interacting with antisocial peers is now considered to be one of the strongest predictors of criminal involvement Hirschi and Gottfredson General Theory of Crime  In 1990, Hirschi and Gottfredson, proposed a more refined and parsimonious control theory  Gottfredson and Hirschi’s theory argues that self control, internalized early in life, is the primary determinant of crime.  believed that crime is not an inevitable consequence for those who lack self-control;  opportunities to commit crime are also crucially important.  low self-control in the presence of criminal opportunities is assumed to explain an individual’s propensity to commit crimes.  argued that, over time, people with low self-control will inevitably become more deeply involved in a criminal lifestyle.  theory of crime is referred to as a general theory of crime because they believe that it can account for all crime in addition to a range of other behaviours that have been deemed “analogous” to criminal behaviour (e.g., alcohol, drug, and tobacco use).  self-control can explain “all crime, at all times, and, for that matter many forms of behaviour that are not sanctioned by the state”  crimes are “short lived, immediately gratifying, easy, simple, and exciting” are appealing to those who are unable to resist temptations of the moment, those who are insensitive to the needs of others, and those who are unable to consider the potential long-term negative consequences of their own behaviour;  in addition to being the primary cause of crime, a low level of self control is also thought to be at the root of a range of other social consequences, many of which constitute the causes of crime in other theories.  Gluecks, Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990) believe that the level of self- control one possesses depends on the quality of parenting in a child’s early years.  their general theory of crime emphasizes effective monitoring of children’s behaviour, recognition of deviant behaviour when it occurs, and consistent and proportionate punishment of rule violations. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Canada Inc. 47 Psychology of Criminal Behaviour: A Canadian Perspective ChLearning and Environmentme:  children whose parents care about them, monitor them, and discipline them appropriately will likely develop the self-control that is needed to behave in a prosocial manner.  Such children will be “more capable of delaying gratification, more sensitive to the interests and desires of others, more independent, more willing to place restraints on his activities, and more unlikely to use force or violence to attain his ends”  Children without such an upbringing will tend to be “impulsive, insensitive, physical (as opposed to mental), risk-taking, short-sighted, and nonverbal”  explains the increased likelihood of these individuals giving in to the temptations presented by crime.  the general theory of crime does recognize other sources of socialization  believe that the role of these other sources in influencing one’s level of self-control is severely limited given that self-control is assumed to be established very early in life and remain stable throughout the lifespan.  meta-analytic research supports the view that there is a relationship between self-control and crime, even when self-control is defined using a broad range of behavioural and attitudinal measures and applied to a broad range of samples  meta-analysis also clearly showed that, while self-control is an important predictor of criminal behaviour, it is not the sole cause of crime, given that it only accounted for approximately 19 percent of the variance in criminal behaviour  Despite the fact that the general theory of crime is reasonably well supported, several criticisms exist: 1. the concept of self-control: operational measures of self-control must be developed that are separate from measures of deviant acts or a propensity toward committing such acts. 2. criminal involvement won’t decline with age, which is a consistent empirical finding: between-individual differences in self-control will remain stable over time and be unaffected by social (or other) factors 3. not dealing with important questions around opportunities for crime Summary  Psychodynamic theories of crime and the perspective on human behaviour has long been a guiding force for the assessment and treatment of offenders  have been incorporated into several popular theories of crime: each relies on different terminology, and all the theories focus on inner drives that lead individuals to behave in an antisocial manner  speak to psychic mechanisms that prevent people from behaving in this way; and they emphasize the role of parent–child relationships  some psychodynamically-oriented theories of crime have received substantially more support than others, but each has played an important role in the development of our thinking about crime and criminals. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Canada Inc. 48 Psychology of Criminal Behaviour: A Canadian Perspective ChLearning and Environmentme:  These theories have even had an influence on behaviouristic, or learning, theories of crime, despite the fact that behaviourism is commonly thought to be at odds with the psychodynamic approach much work in the area of crime by learning theorists has been devoted to determining the exact learning processes that lead to the internalization of moral inhibitions— what is referred to as “socialization.”. 4. Learning Theories and Crime:  An important approach in psychology sees offending as learned.  Learning refers to “a change in pre-existing behaviour or mental processes that occurs as a result of experience”  This emphasis on learning is what distinguishes learning theories of crime from psychodynamic theories of crime. Classical Conditioning  the principles of classical conditioning originated with the work of Ivan Pavlov  In classical conditioning terms, the unconditioned stimulus (UCS—food) elicited an unconditioned response (UCR—salivation).  By repeatedly pairing the UCS with a lab assistant, this previously neutral stimulus (the lab assistant) became associated with the UCS and took on the power of a conditioned stimulus (CS).  After repeated pairings, the CS, even when presented in isolation, began to elicit a response—salivation—which is termed the conditioned response (CR).  Pavlov showed that this interpretation of his observations was correct.  After repeatedly pairing the delivery of food (UCS) with a tone, Pavlov found that the dogs began to salivate (CR) when the tone (CS) was presented without the food.  when the tone was repeatedly sounded in the absence of food, in a process of extinction, it gradually lost its stimulus quality- the dogs salivated initially when the tone was presented, but this eventually stopped.  The principles of classical conditioning operate in both animals and humans.  repeatedly pairing a conditioned response was found to generalize to other similar stimuli (a process known as stimulus generalization).  assumed to be a powerful way of shaping many aspects of human behaviour  Some view the development of sexually deviant fantasies/behaviours as the result, at least in part, of classical conditioning  treatment approaches have been developed for sex offenders that attempt to decrease sexual arousal to deviant objects (e.g., children) through conditioning procedures  In one common approach, aversive conditioning, the client is exposed to an unpleasant stimulus while experiencing sexual Copyright © 2011 Pearson Canada Inc. 49 Psychology of Criminal Behaviour: A Canadian Perspective ChLearning and Environmentme: arousal, the goal being to create an aversion to the source of the arousal.  several methods of aversive conditioning are available.  Using covert aversive conditioning, the goal is to have the offender pair an imagined aversive consequence with his deviant fantasies or behaviour in order to eliminate such fantasies or behaviour.  A standard technique consists of having the offender listen to a story that contains the following three parts: (1) the offender’s preferred deviant stimulus and a buildup of sexual arousal (2) an aversive consequence that causes intense disgust, pain, or humiliation and (3) release from the adverse consequence by reversing the activity  Overt aversive conditioning techniques have the same goal as covert techniques, but actual rather than imagined aversive stimuli are presented during or immediately after the deviant stimulus.  The deviant stimulus may involve slides, videos, or movies depicting the deviant experience or object.  The aversive stimuli may be electric shocks, foul odors, nausea- inducing drugs, or even shame  Once the deviant arousal has been eliminated, it is often necessary to create non-deviant arousal to appropriate stimuli and arousal reconditioning is used for this purpose.  the goal of arousal reconditioning is to weaken deviant sexual arousal and simultaneously strengthen appropriate arousal. Forms of Aversive Conditioning in the Treatment of Sex Offenders Eysenck’s Biosocial Theory of Crime  the principles of classical conditioning are built into some very popular and arguably well-validated theories of criminal behaviour.  Eysenck (1916–1997), argued that crime can largely be explained by individual differences in the functioning of the nervous system, which impacts the degree to which people learn from environmental stimuli such as parental discipline.  Eysenck also believed that differences in nervous system functioning shape one’s personality and behaviour, and he made predictions about personality differences between antisocial and prosocial individuals  Specifically, Eysenck believed that criminals and other antisocial individuals are deficient with respect to classical conditioning, or conditionability, a process he thought was important in the socialization or conscience-building process  Raine (1997) argues in his discussion of Eysenck’s views on classical conditioning and crime that . . the crucial mechanism that stops most of us from committing criminal and antisocial acts is the concept of conscience;  Eysenck argues that what we call “conscience” is a set of classically- conditioned emotional responses. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Canada Inc. 50 Psychology of Criminal Behaviour: A Canadian Perspective ChLearning and Environmentme:  The greater the individual’s ability to develop and form classically- conditioned emotional responses, the greater the conscience development, and the less likely will be the probability of becoming antisocial . . .  socialized individuals develop a feeling of uneasiness at even contemplating a criminal act (robbery, assault) presumably because such thoughts elicit representations or “unconscious” memories of punishment early in life for milder but related misdemeanors (theft, behaving aggressively).  research supporting the predictions: 1. problems with conditionability are generally more pronounced in people with antisocial inclinations (e.g., psychopaths). 2. “children who are highly conditionable and who have antisocial parents will become ‘socialized’ into their parents’ antisocial habits 3. children who condition poorly will, at least in this environment, paradoxically avoid becoming antisocial” . 4. antisocial boys from higher-class (prosocial) homes showed relatively poor conditioning, while antisocial boys from lower-class (antisocial) homes showed relatively good conditionability 5. The opposite pattern was found for the boys who were prosocial.  criticism against Eysenck’s theory of crime relate to the predictions (not dealt with here) that he made regarding personality differences between antisocial and prosocial individuals some criticisms have also been brought against Eyenck’s ideas about classical con
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