Presentation on theme: "Psychological Explanations of Criminal Behaviour"— Presentation transcript:
1Psychological Explanations of Criminal Behaviour Violence and Homicide
2Definition of Dangerousness Behavior likely to result in physical and/or psychological traumaMental health professionals involved in predicting future risk of dangerousnessAccuracy of prediction: a complex & controversial taskhuge indicator is a hx of violent offending
3Aggression & ViolenceAggression: behavior perpetrated or attempted with the intention of harming another individual physically or psychologically or to destroy an object.Violence: Actual, attempted, or threatened physical harm that is deliberate and nonconsentingIncludes violence against victims who cannot give full, informed consentIncludes fear-inducing behavior, where threats may be implicit or directed at third partiesAll violent behavior is aggressive, but not all aggressive behavior is violent.
4Types of AggressionHostile (or expressive) aggression: occurs in response to anger-inducing conditions, such as real or perceived insults, physical attacks, or one’s own failures. Goal = to make victim suffer. Intense and disorganized emotionInstrumental aggression: begins with competition or the desire for some object or status possessed by another person. Goal = obtain desired object. No intent to harm, although indifferent.
5Violence as a ChoiceThe proximal cause of violence is a decision to act violentlyThe decision is influenced by a host of biological, psychological, and social factorsNeurological insult, hormonal abnormalityPsychosis, personality disorderExposure to violent models, attitudes that condone violence
6Theoretical Perspectives on Aggression Frustration-aggression hypothesis: 1) the person is blocked from obtaining an expected goal; 2) frustration results, generating anger; and 3) anger predisposes or readies the person to behave aggressively.Social Learning: children learn, model/observe, their environment. The conditions most conducive to learning aggression are those in which the child (1) has many opportunities to observe aggression; (2) is reinforced for his or her own aggression; (3) is often the object of aggression.Rudiments of aggressive behavior acquired through observing aggressive models or direct experience, then refined and maintained by reinforcement (e.g., by feeling in control).Most research supports the notion that human aggression is primarily learned (early learning and socialization).
7Cognitive Models of Aggression Hostile attribution bias: individual’s prone to violence are more likely to interpret ambiguous actions as hostile and threatening
8Cognitive Self-Regulation and Violence self-regulatory mechanisms - (social learning and social cognition theory)weak cognitive control can facilitate impulsive actions thus in certain circumstances our actions are directed by external situation instead of cognitive
9How do people with apparently “good” structures commit horrible crimes? social learning theory = under certain circumstances self-regulatory mechanisms become disengaged from conduct = may be what takes place in impulsive violencehigh levels of emotional arousal may infringe on self regulatory mechanismsdehumanizing - serial killers view victims as objects rather than humans - when person is humanized (i.e. killer gets acquainted, then harder to kill victim)people will engage in conduct that goes against their morals if dictated by figure with authority
10Overt and Covert Aggressive Actions AggressionBehavior patternsEmotionsCognitionsdevelopmentOvertDirect confrontation with victims; generally decreases with ageAnger; high level of arousal and violenceLacks social cognitions for coming up with nonaggressive solutionsAggression begins early, especially for boysCovertConcealment, dishonesty, sneaky behavior, increases with ageLess emotion; crimes such as fraud, larceny and theftRelies on cognitive capabilities, such as planfulness, deceitfulnessCan evolve as well learned strategy to escape punishment
11Homicide What is homicide? An act in which the life of one person is lost at the hands of another.Criminal homicide is murder when:Person who causes death means to cause death or means to cause bodily harm likely to result in death.First-, Second-degree murder, Manslaughter
12Homicide Incidence and Patterns (2002) Frequency in Canada 582 criminal homicides (1% of violent crimes)1.9 per 100, 000Nature of Homicide in CanadaLocation (Private residence, 60%)Number of Victims (Lone victim, 94%)Victims (Male, Young, Family Members)Suspects (Male, Young, Known to victim)
13Homicide General View of Homicide Reactive violence vs. Instrumental ViolenceHomicide is often the final word in an argument arising between people who know each other and who are engaged in their normal activities(Linden, 2004)
14Homicide as “Crime of Passion” Cognitive Self-RegulationExcitation Transfer Theory (Zillman, 1979, 1983)Arousal produced in one situation can persist and intensify emotional reactions occurring in subsequent situationsImpairment of cognitive processesTransfer of arousal from one situation to another most likely to occur if the person is unaware that he or she is still carrying some arousal.
15Homicide as “Crime of Passion” Prior EventAn aversive earlier event creates frustration, emotional arousal.Frustrating EventAnger and frustration from prior event influences subsequent emotions and appraisal of current events.
16Homicide as “Crime of Passion” Prior EventAn aversive earlier event creates frustration, emotional arousal.Frustrating EventAnger and frustration from prior event influences subsequent emotions and appraisal of current events.Cognitive ProcessesImpaired and subsequent actions are more impulsive.
17Homicide as “Crime of Passion” Dispositional or Personality PerspectiveViolent Men (Hans Toch, 1969)Certain personalities more likely to react violently in certain circumstances.Violence can be traced toHabitual response patternsPast effectiveness in dealing with conflictual, interpersonal relationshipsHumiliation/Threats to reputation and status.
18Homicide as “Crime of Passion” Dispositional or Personality PerspectiveEdwin Megargee (1966)The Undercontrolled offender:Few inhibitions against aggressive behaviour.Aggression becomes a habitual response when angry/upset.The Overcontrolled OffenderWell-established inhibitions against aggressive behaviour, and rigidly adheres to them, even in the face of provocation.When frustration and provocation overwhelm – excessive violence
19Homicide as “Cold Calculation” Multiple MurderSerial murder:A minimum of three victims over timeCooling-off periodSpree murder:Three or more victims without a cooling-off period, usually at two or three different locations.Mass murder:Three or more victims at a single location with no cooling-off period between the killings
20Homicide as “Cold Calculation” Criminal ProfilingThe process of identifying personality traits, behavioural patterns, geographical habits, and demographic features of an offender based on characteristics of the crime.
21Homicide as “Cold Calculation” Assumptions of the profiling process:The crime scene reflects the personalityThe offender’s personality will not changeThe method of operation remains similarModus OperandiActions and procedures an offender engages in to commit a crime successfully
22Homicide as “Cold Calculation” Assumptions of the profiling process:The signature will remain the samePersonation or signatureAnything that goes beyond what is necessary to commit the crime.StagingThe intentional alteration of a crime scene prior to the arrival of the police.
23Sexual Homicide What is Sexual Homicide? The intentional killing of a person during which there is sexual behaviour by the perpetrator.A sexual element (activity) as the basis for the sequence of acts leading to death.
24Sexual KillersSlightly older, average age 28 years Single White, Aboriginal Paraphilia (up to 50% of cases) Sadism Criminal History (see Beauregard, 2012)Beauregard & Martineau (2012). A Descriptive Study of Sexual Homicide in Canada: Implications for Police. Int J Offender Ther Comp Criminol
25Sexual Killers - Victims Female strangersFemale acquaintancesMalesWhite, Aboriginal – intraracial crimesDrug or alcohol usersProstitutes are frequent targetsChildren can be also
26Sexual Killers – What they do Close contact killing techniques (hands, beating, stabbing)Disposed of body outdoorsKept souvenirsOnly 10% had sex with body after deathLess than 5% on average mutilated body partsMany engaged in overkillMany had sex with victim before death
27Sexual Homicide Organized Type General traits: Disorganized Type Planning and premeditationMaintenance of control of self and the victimOften the victim is moved from the abduction area to another secluded areaDisorganized TypeGeneral traits:No premeditation or planningImpulsive, anger, extreme excitementVictim’s body left in view; no alteration of crime scene
28Serial Killers A Profile of the “Typical” Serial Killer Diagnosis of Mental IllnessAbsence of Axis I disordersPsychopathy, Major personality disordersAgeRelatively older (Median age of 36 years)Criminal HistoryHistory of non-violent offences, No juvenile historyGeographic location:Specific locationA large number select victims near their current residence or place of work.
29Serial Killers Typology of Serial Killers The Visionary Serial Killer MotivationDelusional visions and/or thoughts.Pattern of HomicideHighly disorganized; Spontaneous with little planning.Ed GeinHe believed that by eating the corpses of women who looked like his mother, he could preserve his mother's soul inside his body (creating furniture with skin and body parts)
30Serial Killers Typology of Serial Killers The Mission-Oriented Serial KillerMotivationA belief there is a particular group of people who are undesirable and who must be destroyed or eliminated.Not psychotic; Function on a day-to-day basis without demonstrating aberrant behaviour.Peter SutcliffeHe claimed voices told him to clean up the streets of prostitutes (also had a fight with a hooker for payment… UK, prostitute user) – murdered 13 women
31Serial Killers Typology of Serial Killers The Hedonistic Serial Killer MotivationKills for the sheer pleasureAspect they enjoy variesLust Killer, Thrill Killer, Creature-Comfort KillerDave Berkowitz (“Son of Sam”)Got a thrill out of shooting young couples in cars at random and then running away without ever physically touching the victims (enjoyed publicity)
32Serial Killers Typology of Serial Killers The Power/Control Serial KillerMotivationTo gain and exert power over their victimPattern of HomicideRitualistic ElementsCameron HookerKidnapped a woman and held her hostage as a sex slave for several years (the woman in a box)
33Serial Killers Psychology and Development Little valid empirical knowledgeThe MacDonald TriadSome serial killers display one or more of the following warning signs in childhood (unvalidated theory)Fire-StartingCruelty to AnimalsPersistent Bedwetting
34Risk Assessment only an aid to expert testimony Relevant indicators for future crimePrevious violent conductSubstance abuse hxYoung ageRisk Assessment Tools:-HCR-20-VRAGPCL-RWill – Did (True Positive) Did Not (False Positive)Will Not – Did (False Negative) Did Not (True Negative)
35Risk Prediction Will – Did (True Positive) Did Not (False Positive) Will Not – Did (False Negative) Did Not (True Negative)Will Commit an offenseWill Not Commit an offenseDid (True Positive)Did (False Negative)Did not (False Positive)Did not (True negative)
36Risk Assessment tools They change depending on recent research Must stay up to date!Must have the qualifications to use the toolMust understand certain risk factors and literature behind it
37VRAG-R Living with both parents until age 16 – no Elementary school maladjustment – severeHistory of alcohol or drug problemsMarital status – never marriedLots of previous nonviolent convictionsFailure on conditional releaseAge at index offense (younger = more risk)Lots of previous violent convictions
38VRAG-R Prior admissions to correctional institutions (more = risky) Conduct DisorderSex Offending (hands on, female adult)PCL-R, facet 4, antisociality
39HCR-20 Historical Scale (History of problems with...) H1. Violence H2. Other Antisocial BehaviorH3. RelationshipsH4. EmploymentH5. Substance UseH6. Major Mental DisorderH7. Personality DisorderH8. Traumatic ExperiencesH9. Violent AttitudesH10. Treatment or Supervision Response
40HCR-20 Clinical Scale (Recent problems with...) C1. Insight C2. Violent Ideation or IntentC3. Symptoms of Major Mental DisorderC4. InstabilityC5. Treatment or Supervision Response
41HCR-20 Risk Management Scale (Future problems with...) R1. Professional Services and PlansR2. Living SituationR3. Personal SupportR4. Treatment or Supervision ResponseR5. Stress or Coping
42Publicity and serial killers…. Forensic Awareness, how much they know about the police process and how to thwart it