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PSYC39 - Psych and the Law - Lec 4: Theories of Crime (near-verbatim)

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David Nussbaum

PSYC39 Lecture 4: Theories of Crime Learning and Environment PY Date: Exam: o Term test 1 outside of class time; wont have class on o Ch 1-5 and respective lectures until oct 22 o Slides that werent covered in class, wont be test o Biographies wont 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 Freud Inner drives of individuals o 2) Learning Theories Conditioning 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 arent adequately controlled Happens when the internal forces that are necessary to regulate our impulses dont develop OR develop enough and arent 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 were talking about the diff impulses: ID: pleasure principle = were 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 EGO: 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 impulses 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 its appropriate SUPEREGO: 3 level of developed based on concepts of conscience and ego-ideal 1 PSYC39 Lecture 4: Theories of Crime Learning and Environment PY Date: Conscience allows distinction btn right and wrong = driven by morally acceptable rules; inhibits our impulses if the superego determines that its morally wrong to do that, so we dont 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; its 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 development: 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 its NOT guilt over the crime that they committed but rather, theyre committing the crime b/c they already feel guilty about something and feel that they need to get punished Called NEUROTIC CRIMINAL 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 dont have the moral code that others who have a well-developed superego have They dont 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 dont have a moral code, so they engage in criminal beh; how do we know that they dont have a moral code? b/c they engage in criminal behaviorcircular); 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-egos standards are deviant identification How does this happen? 2PSYC39 Lecture 4: Theories of Crime Learning and Environment PY Date: o How do some ppls superegos identify w/ moral standards whereas other ppls 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 dont have prosocial parent to identify with (antisocial parents), then our moral code will reflect their moral code. Deviant superego from parents moral code is one idea of how it can be developed 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 fathers o When dad died, he became reckless, confirming his fathers opinion of him o He kn
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