PSC 153 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Psychopathy, Physical Abuse, Biology Of Depression

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26 Dec 2019
Legal System Terms and Criminal Behavior
Causes of criminal behavior
What makes someone commit such awful crimes?
Criminal Behavior: Theories
Validity of the Theories Varies Greatly
No Theory Explains it all
Most concentrate on Men (not women)
Most concentrate on violent crime
Psychological Theories
Psychopathy: Charming, deceitful, & dangerous
Lacks empathy, liar, manipulative
Account for a small % of law violators, but possibly 2/ 3 of violent crime
Ted Bundy (1946-1989): an American serial killer, who forcibly abducted, raped,
& murdered at least 30 young women, & possibly many more, between 1974 &
“... he never felt guilty. He had no capacity for guilt. Only survival”
Bundy himself said in a 1980 interview: “so what’s one less?” what’s one
less person on the face of the planet?
Ted Bundy - childhood
Born at a Home for Unwed Mothers to Louise Cowell. The mother’s family
expressed suspicions that Ted’s father was Louise’s own violent, abusive father,
Samuel Cowell
Bundy’s maternal grandparents, Samuel & Eleanor Cowell, agreed to raise him
as their son
Ted was told that his grandparents were his parents, & his mother his older sister
His father/ grandfather (Samuel), thought a deacon in his church, was a
tyrannical bully who beat his wife & the family dog, swung neighborhood cats by
their tails, bigoted, talked to unseen presences, & kept a large collection of
pornography in his greehouse which Ted & a cousin would peruse for hours
Bundy grew up in a violent family, lied to, lack of empathy, associated violence w/
Robert Hare: genetic/ biological
Psychopaths have Executive Function deficit
Cortical immaturity/ difficulty inhibiting behavior
Their brains are wired differently than normal
Farrington: social factors
Followed males 8 until 48 years old. Predictors: a convicted parent,
physical neglect, harsh discipline, poverty, coming from a disrupted
family, depressed mother
Multiple risk factors
But most offenders are not psychopaths
What else might cause violent crime?
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