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Chapter 7

Ch.7 Psychological Theories

Course Code
CRIM 101
Bryan Kinney

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Chapter 7 - Psychological Theories
Major Principles of Psychological Theories.
1. The individual is the primary unit of analysis.
2. Personality is the major motivational element within individuals, because it is the seat
of drives and the source of motives.
3. Crimes result from abnormal, dysfunctional, or inappropriate mental processes within
the personality.
4. Criminal behaviour, while condemned by the social group, may be purposeful for the
individual insofar as it addresses certain felt needs.
5. Normality is generally defined by social consensus—that is, what the majority of
people in any social group agree is “real,” appropriate, or typical.
6. Defective, or abnormal, mental processes may have a variety of causes, including:
a. A diseased mind.
b. Inappropriate learning or improper conditioning.
c. The emulation of inappropriate role models.
d. Adjustment to inner conflicts.
Early Psychological Theories.
-Early psychological theories emphasized either behavioural conditioning, or personality
disturbances and diseases of the mind (psychopathology)
-Ivan Pavlov: physiologist, development on the concept of conditioned behaviour by
work with salivating dogs.
A psychological principle that holds that the frequency of any
behaviour can be increased or decreased through reward, punishment, and/or
association with other stimuli.
The study of pathological mental conditions, that is, mental illness. The
psychopath, also called a sociopath, is generally viewed as cruel without
thought or feelings for his victims
-Hervey Cleckley: developed the concept of the psychopathic personality and identified
a number of characteristics of the psychopathic personality including superficial charm,
inability to feel guilt, unreliability, chronic lying.
Psychopath (or Sociopath):
A person with a personality disorder, especially one manifested in aggressively
antisocial behaviour, which is often said to be the result of a poorly developed
Anti-Social Personality Disorder. The terms sociopath and psychopath have fallen into
professional disfavour in recent years, being replaced by the terms anti-social or
asocial personality.
Anti-social (or Asocial) Personality:
Refers to individuals who are basically unsocialized and whose behaviour pattern
brings them repeatedly into conflict with society.
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