PSYC39 Chapter 1
-media depictions of crime influence public opinion.
-when surveyed about their perceptions of crime, Canadians rated government
information as having a moderate influence and academic contributions as having
>Shows the importance of media for Canadians
-InTRA-individual differences: differences in criminal conduct within an individ
across time and situations
-InTER-individual differences: differences in criminal conduct b/w individ.
>focused on in sociology
-psychology focuses on individ, sociology focuses on groups
-forensic psychology: any application of psych to the legal system.
>issues of risk assessment and expert testimony. Guides legal decision-making
-correctional psychologists conduct crisis management and individ and group
psychotherapy with general population inmates and with offenders that have
mental disorders/substance abuse
-socio explanations that regard factors like age, gender, social class give some
insight into groups of individ
>i.e “younger males are more likely to be involved in criminal behaviour”
-at the “macro” level, the objective is to understand crime as a large-scale social
phenomenon (strain theory)
>as the perspective narrows, importance of socialization and influence of
community, family and peer groups becomes of greater interest (differential
>even narrower focus, looks at patterns of individ behave, first over time and
situation and then in terms of the influence of psychological factors like thoughts,
feelings and attitudes
-small percentage of offenders maintain criminal activity into adulthood. This
phenomenon of decreased criminal activity is called crime desistance
-psychology attempts to refine understanding of criminal behave by considering
individ variation in order to account for heterogeneity and provide differentiated
assessment and intervention.
>this type of assessment is derived from recognizing the variability of criminal
behav b/w individ and within an individ over time.
-Personal, Interpersonal and Community Reinforcement Model (PIC-R):
psychological depiction of the interplay among factors that influence criminality.
>this model says that criminal behave reflects the immediate situation in that
factors (like temptations, facilitators, stressors) combine to influence a decision to
engage in that behaviour.
>this decision is influenced even more by attitudes supportive of the crime like a
history of criminal behaviour and the balance of cost vs rewards for the crime.
>highlights contributions of community (family, socioeconomic factors)
interpersonal (family/child relations, neglect, abuse), personal (gender, age) and
consequences (whether criminal behave is rewarded) >recognizes influence of historical and immediate factors in an individ coming to
the decision to commit a crime.
>cognitive social learning theory of crime.
-There are a variety of factors that have been used to define crime and explain when
certain behave may be used as criminal
>like an individ’s motivations, opportunity, social convention
-there are many definitions of crime, hard to get a perfect description
-the definitions usually include legal, moral, social and psychological explanations
>legal: acts prohibited by the state and are punishable by law
>moral: violations of norms of religion/morality that are punishable by supreme
>social: violation of norms/customs punishable by the community
>psychological: acts that are rewarding to perpetrator but harmful to others
-there is a consistency across countries regarding what is viewed as a criminal. In
particular, robbery, theft and incest were all viewed to be criminal
Criminal Behaviour: intentional behaviour that violates a criminal code;
intentional in that it did not occur accidently or without justification of excuse
-definition of a crime is important in that the specific description will influence
>the definition must concede that there are inter-cultural variations regarding
normative and acceptable behaviour and that acceptable norms can change over
time within a culture (like abortion laws in Canada)
-immigrants to Canada may behave in a manner that’s consistent with the norms of
their country but might be illegal in their new home. (e.x age of consent for sex)
-Determinants of crime can be distal (historical) or proximal (immediate,
-a useful strategy to empirically identify determinants of crime is through meta-
analysis. They are les biased bc that they provide a quantitative estimate of the
importance of the results.
>uses statistics to aggregate the results of individ studies and develop one
averaged effect size for all the studies combined
>effect sizes provide info about the magnitude of the diff
**TABLE 1.1 pg 11** -Work by Andrews & colleagues ranks variables to be related
to criminal behav
>Central Eight risk/need factors most important in understanding criminal
>embedded in this are the Big Four: major casual variables in the analysis
criminal behav of individ.
-minor risk factors: variables previously considered important
-major risk factors are first order correlates of crime.
-Moderate Risk factors: those that are part of the Central Eight but are not major
>Some risk factors (like antisocial history) are static (they cannot change) >others (like antisocial cognition and substance abuse) can change so they’re
called dynamic risk factors
-the more robust co-variation with criminal behav is from variables embedded
within a cognitive social learning theory of crime
>to reduce criminal behav, treatments must attend to the factors that are most