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PSYC 3020 unit 2.docx

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PSYC 3020
Dan Yarmey

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Unit 2 THEORIES OF CRIMINAL BEHAVIOUR, PSYCHOPATHS AND YOUNG OFFENDERS Crime is defined as “a kind of human behavior that is deviant by certain established standards of authority in society” (Radelet) Lay person has six primary explanations for criminal l behavior: defective education, mental instability, temptation, excitement, alienation, and lack of proper parental guidance. Theories of criminal behavior can be grouped into four categories: biological, psychological, physiological and sociological. Biological Theories of Criminal Behavior Biological theories of crime centre on physiological, constitutional or genetic determinants of the behavior. 1. Somatotypes: Sheldon developed biological theory associating physical characteristics with personality types.3 major body types endomorphs=extended stomachs, soft plump bodies-highly sociable, content, relaxed; mesomorphs=hard, muscular, bony bodies-energetic, assertive, competitive, powerful, confident; ectomorphs=tall, thin, fragile bodies-introverted, shy, intellectual. This approach is now believed to be too simplistic to explain complexity of crime. 2. Central Nervous System: CNS produces behavior by creating muscular, skeletal and glandular reactions. When neurons disturbed, damaged or drugged, the chemical process is upset and this may result in memory loss, poor judgement, learning failures and under or over reaction to stress. Researchers found abnormal psychological functioning of the CNS in approx. 50% of criminals versus 105 of individuals in general population. 3.Autonomic Nervous System: One of the functions of ANS is to mediate physiological processes associated with emotion .Research shows prisoners suffering from antisocial personality disorders(psychopaths)opposed to less psychopathic prisoners, exhibit less ANS responsiveness i.e.: changes in heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, muscle tension etc. Read course reader 2.1 article: Hare- Psychopathy: A clinical construct Hare emphasises asocial or anti- social behavior of criminal antisocial personalities is evident in adolescence and continues throughout much of lifespan. Anti- social personality disorder is a behavior pattern in which an individual shows a history of acts of violence toward others, unaccompanied by guilt. Read Course text chp 11 “psychopaths” pp.288-307 PSYCHOPATHY is a key concept on test one 4. Sensation-Seeking Behavior: For some individuals involvement in criminal activities such as robbery and assault may be engaged in as an exciting alternative to a life that is boring and monotonous. Zuckerman-individuals with high sensation seeking needs are highly extroverted, thrill-seeking, impulsive, low in anxiety etc. 5. Genetics: popular but false theory-“bad seed theory of criminality”=individuals destined to be criminals because of their heredity. All behavior, including antisocial acts, is the product of interaction between heredity and environment. 5. The XXY Chromosome: suggested relationship between so-called XYY chromosomal syndrome and criminality no longer is accepted. In 1965 investigators discovered that number of infamous murders possessed an extra Y was argued that men with XYY chromosomes could not be held responsible for antisocial behavior because they suffer from mental illness or compulsion to aggress. This work has been discredited to show XYY is not restricted to criminals .Nevertheless no doubt that men commit excessively more violent crimes than women. Psycholog
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