SOC 2700 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Actus Reus, Orgasm, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

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9 Aug 2016
Criminological Theory Midterm
Essay Questions:
Question #1: Provide an outline for B.F. Skinners’ Operant Conditioning (or
Behavioural Psychology):
Class Notes:
Behavioural psychology supports the idea that human actions are developed through learning
Skinner specifically focused on the scientific study of behaviour (positivist approach) by
focusing on what could be observed rather than focusing on internal mental states (like in
psychoanalytic theory)
Operant conditioning is a method of learning that occurs through rewards and punishments of
In the process of operant conditioning an association is made between a specific behaviour
and a consequence for that behaviour
Skinner was most concerned with how the consequences of people’s actions include their
Operant behaviours under our conscious control (opposite of respondent behaviours)
The premise of operant conditions actions that are followed by reinforcement will be
strengthened and are more likely to occur again the future and actions that result in
punishment or undesirable consequences will be weakened and less likely to occur in the
The two types of reinforcers positive (application of favourable stimuli) and negative
(removal of unpleasant stimuli)
The two types of punishments positive (application of unpleasant stimuli); and negative
(removal of positive stimuli)
Online Notes:
Skinner believed that the best way to understand behaviour is to look at the causes of an
action and its consequences; he called this approach operant conditioning
Operant conditioning deals with operants intentional actions that have an effect on the
surrounding environment
Skinner set out to identify the processes, which made certain operant behaviours more or
less likely to occur
B.F. Skinner coined the term operant conditioning; it means roughly changing of behaviour by
the use of reinforcement, which is given after the desired response. Skinner identified three
types of responses or operant that can follow behaviour
1. Neutral operants responses from the environment that neither increase nor decrease
the probability of a behaviour being repeated
2. Reinforcers responses from the environment that increase the probability of a
behaviour being repeated. Reinforcers can be either positive or negative
3. Punishers responses from the environment that decrease the likelihood of a behaviour
being repeated. Punishment weakens behaviour
Positive reinforcement strengthens a behaviour by providing a consequence an individual
finds rewarding
Negative reinforcement the removal of an unpleasant reinforcer can also strengthen
behaviour; this is known as negative reinforcement because it is the removal of an adverse
stimulus which is ‘rewarding’ to the animal or person; negative reinforcement strengthens
behaviour because it stops or removes an unpleasant experience
Punishment is defined as the opposite of reinforcement since it is designed to weaken or
eliminate a response rather than increase it; it is an aversive event that decreases the
behaviour that it follows; punishment can work either by directly applying an unpleasant
stimulus like a shock after a response or by removing a potentially rewarding stimulus
Question #2: Provide an outline of key philosophies of punishment:
Utilitarianism crime is a rational choice, people want to avoid pain and achieve pleasure;
crime may be a source of pleasure to criminals thus punishment must provide pain in order to
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Criminological Theory Midterm
prevent crime; however the punishment must be proportionate to the crime committed,
punishment will act as a deterrent so long as it is severe, certain, and swift
o Incarceration get criminals off the street is the greatest good for the greatest
number of people
o Jeremy Bentham
Retribution oldest philosophy of punishment, follows the “eye for an eye” principle;
philosophy is based on seeking revenge, “let the punishment fit the crime”; does not consider
culpability of the offender or take any measures to try and prevent future wrongdoing
Rehabilitation the philosophy that offenders can be rehabilitated into “normal” law-abiding
citizens and re-integrated into society; restore a convicted offender through treatment,
education, and / or training
Restoration perhaps the most modern approach to punishment; this approach involves the
victim, the offender, and the community; the offender essentially takes full responsibility for
their actions and provides restitution for the victim; the victim and the offender are brought
together to develop a mutually beneficial program (helps the victim recover and provides the
offender a meaning of reducing their risks of reoffending)
Question #3: What are the key presuppositions of victimology? Provide an outline
of victimization theories:
Presuppositions harm (physical or psychological); rights (a victim is only considered to be
a victim if they have the rights that can be violated in the first place), moral agent (the
offender knew that what they were doing was wrong)
Lifestyle theory likelihood of victimization is largest among groups with high-risk lifestyle
(live in dangerous places; walk around alone at night often; go to places that are known to be
dangerous; associate with criminals)
Equivalent group hypothesis those who are criminals themselves have a greater chance
of becoming a victim (argued that victims and criminals share similar characteristics, and that
their lifestyle exposes them to increased levels of victimization risks)
Routine activities theory motivation to commit crime is constant; as long as there are
opportunities to commit crime people will do it; the perfect opportunity for a crime to take
place has 3 elements:
1. A motivated offender
2. A lack of a capable guardian
3. A suitable target
o The greater the opportunity to commit crime the higher the crime and victimization
Question #4: Provide an outline of phrenology and Lombroso’s atavism:
Phrenology physiological theory; studying the shape of the skill and bumps on the head to
determine whether these physical attributes were linked to criminal behaviour
o External cranial characteristics dictate which areas of the brain control physical
o Different areas of the brain are associated with different mental capacities or faculties
o As the brain developed it shaped the skill
o The brain is the organ of the mind
Atavism biological theory; criminals are born with atavistic abnormalities or traits which
indicate they are throwbacks to primitive people
o Big jaws; canine teeth; skull abnormalities; intellectually or morally inferior; small
o Equated criminal activity to those with mental illness or certain forms of epilepsy
o Concluded that criminal traits were primarily caused by indirect heredity (family
history) and secondly through primary heredity (your biological parents)
Scientific racism is the use of pseudo-scientific techniques and hypotheses to support or
justify the belief in racism, racial inferiority, racialism, racial superiority, or alternatively the
practice of classifying individuals of different phenotypes into discrete races
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Criminological Theory Midterm
Question #5: Provide an outline of Canada’s drug strategy:
Education and prevention primarily the responsibilities of the provincial government
o High-risk populations are the main targets at the federal-level (adolescents,
prostitutes, etc)
o School programs (like DARE), mass media awareness campaigns, policy
approaches, etc the main goal of such programs are to help people avoid the use
of harmful substances and in the case of users to enhance their ability to control their
use and to prevent a substance use problem
o This approach recognizes that different groups have different needs in relation to
prevention of substance use and abuse
Treatment and rehabilitation provinces and local communities (municipalities) have
primary responsibility for the development and implementation of drug and alcohol treatment
and rehabilitation programs
o Substance disorder is a complex disorder that involves many different dimensions
o Programs vary in their approaches most programs agree that a holistic approach
which recognizes the importance of integrated services, partnerships, and a
continuum of care is essential
Harm reduction health-centered approach
o Main goal is to reduce the health and social harms related to substance abuse
o Adopts a neutral-value view of drug use
o Accepts that some people will not ever stop using
o Community-based outreach programs that target marginalized groups (homeless
people, sex workers, etc)
o Needle exchange programs medically supervised injection site and medically
managed prescriptions of methadone or heroin who have not been helped by other
Enforcement and control Canada’s Drug Strategy has always been on the principle of
balancing the need to reduce both the supply of drugs and the demand for drugs
o Failure of past law enforcement efforts to counteract trade in illegal drugs has led to
arguments for decriminalization or legalization (arguments are that money could be
better spent on health-related programs; that violence and drug wars are a product of
the illegal drug trade, etc)
o Control also takes place in some workplaces (dependence on drug or alcohol has
been called a disability)
Multiple Choice Questions:
Article #1: Gang Membership as a Risk Factor for Adolescent Violent Victimization
(victimology unit):
The article finds that gang members are more likely to experience violent victimization, as
well as a greater frequency of victimization than non gang-members
Research has generally found that, although conceptually distinct, risk factors for gang
membership, offending, and victimization overlap
Gangs are often involved in selling drugs or practices involving gang retaliation which are
associated with higher risks of victimization / violence in general
Gang members who are victims generally report the greatest exposure to risk factors and
least exposure to protective factors, whereas youth are neither gang members nor victims of
violence generally report the least exposure to risk factors and greatest exposure to
protective factors
Gang membership appears to suppress or protect against general violent victimization,
increase the risk of serious violent victimization, and exert no independent effect on rates of
victimization among victims of either index of violence, when important risk and protective
factors are taken into account
*Seems to be best associated with the equivalent group hypothesis*
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