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WEDNESDAY, JULY 07, 2010

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PSYC 3402: Biological and Sociological Theories of Crime


Contents

Notes by Lecture Date


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2010 (33)
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1. Biological Theories of Crime


1.1 Lombrosos Born Criminal
Theory: some people are born with strong, innate predispositions to behave antisocially; based on the Darwinian idea that some people are genetically closer to their primitive ancestry than others. Lombrosos Research:
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December (4) September (2) August (6) July (9)


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1. Biological Theories of Crime 1.1 Lombrosos Born Criminal 1.2 Sheldons Somatotypes 1.3 Jacob et als Chromosomal Theory 1.4 Twin Studies 2. Sociological Theories of Crime 2.1 Mertons Strain Theory 2.2 Cohens Subculture Theory 2.3 Beckers Labelling Theory

PSYC 3402: Sex Offenders PSYC 3402: Serial Homicide Midterm Review for PSYC 3402 PSYC 3402: Young Offenders PSYC 3402: Offender Treatment PSYC 3402: Risk Assessment PSYC 3402: Psychological Theories of Crime PSYC 3402: Biological and Sociological Theories of... PSYC 3402: Measuring Crime

Believed that criminals represented a separate species that have not yet evolved into Homo sapiens. Collected data on physical measurements of Italian prisoners. Conclusion: criminals can be distinguished by physical abnormalities (ex: flattened nose, large ears, fat lips); he proposed a taxonomy of 5 criminal types (CPPB and J):
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Criminaloids: crime due to bad examples. Professional: crime as a trade. Passion: crime as intense love. Born Criminal: crime as a predisposition. Juridicial: crime as impulsivity.

Related Research: Goring compared the physical measurements of 3000 prisoners to non-prisoners and found no differences. Results: most criminologists do not support this theory but many view him as the father of modern criminology.

June (5) May (7)

1.2 Sheldons Somatotypes


Theory: proposed a link between physical characteristics and personality (constitutional psychology). He proposed three somatotypes, with a correlation between somatotype and personality (temperament):
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2008 (12)
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November (3) October (8)

September (1)

1. Endomorph: fat and soft viscerotonia (sociable). 2. Mesomorph: muscular and hard somatotonia (adventurous). 3. Ectomorph: thin and fragile cererotonia (restrained). People are classified on a 7-point rating scale for each category (ex: 1-7-1 is a pure mesomorph). Research (the link between delinquency and physique): Sheldon predicted that mesomorphs would be related to delinquency because of their muscularity and need for adventure. Results: research is inconclusive; he found that delinquents tend to be mesomorphic (and some endomorphic); recent research suggests there is no relationship.

1.3 Jacob et als Chromosomal Theory


Theory: violent crimes result from a genetic abnormality the XYY supermale syndrome (males with 47 XYY) because the XYY makes people more masculine (and therefore more aggressive). Research: research does suggest that XYY males exhibit impulsivity, low tolerance for frustration and low tolerance for anxiety. Results: mixed results; the link is not specifically with violent crime (more with theft and sex offences), some XYYs arent criminals and most criminals arent XYYs.

1.4 Twin Studies


Theory: genetics play a big role in crime. Research: meta-analysis of 13 studies revealed that 51.5% of MZ (identical) twins and only 20.6% of DZ (fraternal) twins are concordant for crime. Results: heredity does play a role in primarily non-violent criminality but so does environment (see: adoption studies).

2. Sociological Theories of Crime


2.1 Mertons Strain Theory
Theory: society encourages everyone to achieve the same goals without giving them equal opportunities to achieve them. The discrepancy between what society asks for and what the structure of our society permits is what causes crime. There are 5 ways of adapting to strain: A Comparison of the 5 Ways to Adapt to Strain

Adaptation Conformist Innovator Ritualist Retreatist Rebel

Means (Opportunity) Accept Reject Accept Reject Accept new, rejects old

Goals Accept Accept Reject Reject Accepts new, rejects old

Example Regular people (middle-high class society) Criminals Low-income families Drug addicts

2.2 Cohens Subculture Theory


Theory: where a subculture emerges within a dominant culture because they are isolated from society. This subculture has its own norms, values and belief system. Focus: delinquent boys formed their own subculture where they could properly compete for status

2.3 Beckers Labelling Theory


Theory: where a person is not deviant (or a criminal) until they are so labelled. This label creates outsiders by causing them to feel isolated and associate with other outsiders; this causes them to engage in the behaviour that society expects of them. This theory examines the labelled, labellers and the impact of the label on the labelled.

Posted by Natasha Zabchuk at 10:00 PM Tags: lecture, psyc3402

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