2Question Do you think that people who commit crime are physically or mentally abnormal?
3Trait TheoriesTrait theories are made up of biosocial and psychological theories.The primary focus of trait theories is human behavior and drives, i.e., aggression, violence, and a tendency to act on impulse – factors that are linked to antisocial behavior (as opposed to legally defined criminal acts).
4Biological and Psychological Traits Both biological and psychological traits have been linked to criminal behavior, but not as causal linkages.It is the “multiple factor” approach or the interaction of mental and physical traits with environmental and social factors that either suppress or trigger criminal behavior.The focus is generally on persistent or chronic offenders.
5Foundations of Biological Trait Theory Biological explanation of criminal behavior first became popular during the middle part of the19th Century with the introduction of positivism.What is positivism?
6Positivism Positivism rejects the concept of free will. Crime can only be understood if it is studied by the scientific method.Human behavior is a function of internal and external forces, i.e., social, biological, psychological, or economic forces.
7Early Positivists Early positivists included: Lombroso - belief that certain physical characteristics indicate a criminal nature, i.e., atavistic anomalies.Garofalo - certain physical characteristics and psychological characteristics indicate criminal nature, i.e., prisoner tattooing.Ferri – belief in biological, social and organic factors as a cause of crime and delinquency, i.e., forces outside your control.Sheldon - belief in body types which were susceptible to certain types of delinquent behavior, i.e., somatotype school.
8Problems With Early Positivist Theories The research of the earliest positivists(who were biologists)was plagued by poor:MethodologyTestingLogic
9Biosocial Trait Theories Biochemical Conditions and CrimeNeurophysiological Conditions and CrimeGenetics and CrimeEvolutionary Views and Crime
11Principles of Biosocial Trait Theories Genetic makeup contributes significantly to human behavior.Not all humans are born with equal potential to learn and achieve (equipotentiality).No two people are alike (with rare exceptions, i.e., identical twins), thus the combination of genetic traits and the environment produces individual human behavior patterns.How do these principles contrast with social theories?
12How does a biosocial theorist QuestionHow does a biosocial theoristexplain learning?
13Biosocial Theory: Biochemical Perspective Crime, especiallyviolence, is a functionof diet, vitamin intake,hormonal imbalance,or food allergies.CAUSEExplains irrationalviolence. Shows howthe environmentinteracts with personaltraits to influencebehavior.STRENGTHS
14Question Is there a link between sugar and antisocial behavior? If so, explain.What is the link betweenhormones and antisocial behavior?Explain.
15Biochemical Considerations Aggression and violence have been linked to diet. Some believe diets highin sugar and carbohydrates are culprits.What do studies show?
16Biosocial Theory: Neurological Perspective Criminals anddelinquents often sufferbrain impairment, asmeasured by an EEG.Attention deficitdisorder and minimumbrain dysfunction arerelated to antisocialbehavior.CAUSEExplains irrationalviolence. Shows howthe environmentinteracts withpersonal traits toinfluence behavior.STRENGTHS
17Neurological Impairment What is the link between brain chemistry and chronic offenders and crimes of violence?Neurophysiology – the study of brain activity suggests that physical and brain abnormalities are acquired at the prenatal stage or through birth delivery trauma – in turn, they control behavior throughout the life span.
18Biosocial Theory: Genetic Perspective The major premiseis that criminal traitsand predispositionsare inherited. Thecriminality of parentscan predict thedelinquency ofchildren.CauseExplains why only asmall percentage ofyouth in a high-crimearea become chronicoffenders.What do the results ofsibling and twin studiesshow?Contagion Effect?Strengths
19Biosocial Theory: Evolutionary Perspective As the human raceevolved, traits andcharacteristics havebecome ingrained.Some of these makepeople aggressive andpredisposed tocommit crime.CauseExplains highviolence rates andaggregate genderdifferences in thecrime rate.Explain why violenceis often driven byevolutionary andreproductive factors.Strengths
20QuestionIf there is a biological basis to violence and aggression – then how would a biosocial theorist explain white collar crime?
21Evaluation of Biosocial Trait Theory ResponseRather than suggest that there are born criminals and non-criminals, proponents maintain that some people carry the potential to be violent or antisocial and that environmental conditions can sometimes trigger antisocial responses.CriticismsIf there are biological explanations for street crimes then by implication biological theory says that member of groups are biologically different, flawed or inferior. There is also a lack of adequate empirical testing.
22Psychological Trait Theories PsychodynamicBehavioralCognitiveSocial LearningMental Illness and crimePersonality and CrimeIntelligence and Crime
24Psychological Theory: Psychodynamic Perspective Major Premise…..The development of the unconscious personality early in childhood influences behavior for the rest of a person’s life. Criminals have weak egos and damaged personalities i.e., anger, sexuality, tendencies. Created by Sigmund Freud.StrengthsExplains the onset of crime and why crime and drug abuse cut across class lines.What type of mood and/or behavioral disorders may affect offenders?
25Crime and Mental Illness A great deal of early research efforts found that many offenders who engage in serious, violent crimessuffer from some sort of mental disturbance.However, empirical evidence has contradicted this.Research shows that upon release, prisoners who had prior histories of hospitalization for mental disorders were less likely to be rearrested than those who had never been hospitalized.Mentally disordered inmates who do recidivate upon release appear to do so for the same reasons as the mentally sound.
26Psychological Theory: Behavioral Perspective Strengths….Explains the role of significant others in the crime process. Shows how family life and media can influence crime and violence.What is social learning theory?Major Premise…..People commit crime when they model their behavior after others they see being rewarded for the same acts. Behavior is reinforced by rewards and extinguished by punishment, i.e., learning processes.
27Social Learning Theory (Life Experiences) An eventthat heightensarousalBehavior andvalues becomeconsistentFactors thathelp produceviolence andaggression.LearnedaggressiveskillsExpectedoutcomes -rewards
28Psychological Theory: Cognitive Theory Strengths….Shows why criminal behavior patterns change over time as people mature and develop their moral reasoning. May explain the aging-out process.Explain the relationship of cognitive processes, perceptions, and chronic offending.Major PremiseIndividual reasoning processes influence behavior. Reasoning is influenced by the way people perceive their environment and by their moral and intellectual development, i.e., thinking, memory, ethical values.
29Anti-Social Personalities Personality and CrimePersonality can be defined as the reasonably stable patterns of behavior, including thoughts and emotions that distinguish one person from another. Personality reflects a characteristic way of adapting to life’s demands and problems.PsychopathsSociopathsAnti-Social PersonalitiesIAbnormal Affect
30Intelligence and Crime What is the difference betweennature theory and nurture theory?Do you think IQ and crime are linked?Explain.If so, why are there more male than female criminals? or,Why does “aging out” occur?