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PSY100H1 Lecture Notes - Morality, Social Class, Token Economy

Course Code
David Nussbaum

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PSYC39 Lecture 4: Theories of Crime Learning and Environment PY
o Term test 1 outside of class time; won’t have class on
o Ch 1-5 and respective lectures until oct 22
o Slides that weren’t covered in class, won’t be test
o Biographies won’t be tested; but if relevant to the topic, then testable; can email to ask
o 7:30
3 broad theories covered today:
o 1) Psychodynamic Theories
Inner drives of individuals
o 2) Learning Theories
o 3) Social Learning Theories
Involves social settings
Psychodynamic Theories of Crime:
Basic Psychodynamic Concepts
o Humans are inherently anti-social; assumption
o Driven by pleasure-seeking and destructive impulses
o Crime occurs when impulses aren’t adequately controlled
Happens when the internal forces that are necessary to regulate our impulses
don’t develop OR develop enough and aren’t strong enough to control our
impulses (can happen due to things like childhood trauma etc;)
o We all want to be bad; but some of us are able to be good
Personality Systems:
o When we’re talking about the diff impulses:
ID: pleasure principle = we’re all seeking immediate pleasure with little
consideration for undesirable consequences; present at birth
Represents primitive, instinctual desires (also applies to aggression)
Anti-social desires; EGO and SUPEREGO are there to control
Reality principle
Allows the ID to fxn in socially acceptable ways; suppresses IDs impulses
until the appropriate situation arises where the ID can act out those
Ex) suppressing aggressive tendencies until someone else picks a fight
with you and then you can express them
Focused on the concept of delay of gratification; waiting to go after
whatever reward/pleasure you want until it’s appropriate
3rd level of developed based on concepts of conscience and ego-ideal

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PSYC39 Lecture 4: Theories of Crime Learning and Environment PY
Conscience allows distinction btn right and wrong = driven by morally
acceptable rules; inhibits our impulses if the superego determines that
it’s morally wrong to do that, so we don’t do that
Ego-ideal based on socially acceptable standards; society thinks its
wrong, so superego inhibits that impulse
o These develop across the 5 psychosexual stages that Freud determined (oral, anal,
phallic, latent, genital)
o Problem in superego develops from an issue happening at one of these 5 stages; it’s
thought that problems with superego formation is what affects your behavior (ex:
problem w/ identifying w/ a prosocial parent figure)
o 3 hypothesized sources of criminal behavior that revolve around Superego
1) Harsh superego:
Based on guilt; so an individual w/ harsh/overactive superego is
committing criminal behavior b/c he wants to get punished b/c he feels
bad in general
Guilt comes from unresolved issues from when they were a kid; so it’s
NOT guilt over the crime that they committed but rather, they’re
committing the crime b/c they already feel guilty about something and
feel that they need to get punished
2) Weak superego:
The superego not being properly developed/non-existent; therefore it is
unable to regulate the ID based on moral or social standards
This type represents the psychopathic/sociopathic type of offender b/c
they don’t have the moral code that others who have a well-developed
superego have
They don’t have anything in their head to tell them that this is a morally
wrong action; nothing to regulate the ID impulses
Characteristics to describe: egocentric, impulsive, guiltless, unempathic
And this type of explanation for criminal behavior is thought to be the
case for violent offenders, serial killers
Issues: circularity (they don’t have a moral code, so they engage in
criminal beh; how do we know that they don’t have a moral code? b/c
they engage in criminal behavior…circular); no way to test it without
using the definition of what it is
3) Deviant superego:
Person has a developed superego but the code that it has attached itself
to is anti-social
So the super-ego’s standards are deviant identification
How does this happen?

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PSYC39 Lecture 4: Theories of Crime Learning and Environment PY
o How do some ppl’s superegos identify w/ moral standards
whereas other ppl’s identify w/ anti-social standards?
Where do we get our moral codes from?
psychoanalytic theories say parents; and we model our
behavior after them
So, if you don’t have prosocial parent to identify with
(antisocial parents), then our moral code will reflect
their moral code.
Deviant superego from parent’s moral code is one idea of how it can be
Moral codes of one societal group may not equal the moral codes of
another group
Try to apply the development of the 3 diff types of superego to case study:
Dave = 42 yr old Caucasian male; 2 older bros, dad = died from heart
attack; had poor relationship with dad; rest on textbook
o Started gambling: felt that he could finally make his own choices
instead of following his father’s
o When dad died, he became reckless, confirming his father’s
opinion of him
o He knew police were watching him and he still continued to
commit crimes
How might the diff ego types apply to this specific example?
o 1) Harsh superego = neurotic criminal = feels that he needs to
be punished for past instances (textbook)
o 2) he lost father = lost authority figures = so he fell apart w/out
having someone to guide
o 3) Even though he knew police were watching, he was so
focused on the immediate reward/ID impulse of the money
from the drugs to gamble didn’t see the consequences or care
about them
o 4) Maybe he didn’t identify with the father and he didn’t
develop the proper moral code and once his dad died, dad
didn’t have control over his son
o 5) maybe some sort of mental disorder may have come into
play sudden, reckless behavior, other risk-taking beh
bipolar manic episode?
o 6) maybe delusion of grandeur police are watching but thinks
he’s untouchable
This is a case study and there’s lots of things to consider when seeing
why someone engages in criminal beh; so many factors
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