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Criminology Chapter 5 Notes

by: Carly Pate

Criminology Chapter 5 Notes SOC3890

Marketplace > Clemson University > Sociology > SOC3890 > Criminology Chapter 5 Notes
Carly Pate
William White

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About this Document

Notes from Chapter 5, covered on test 2.
William White
Class Notes
criminology, Criminal Justice
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Carly Pate on Sunday January 24, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to SOC3890 at Clemson University taught by William White in Spring 2015. Since its upload, it has received 55 views. For similar materials see Criminology in Sociology at Clemson University.


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Date Created: 01/24/16
Chapter 5 Trait Theories Foundations of Trait Theory sociobioogists argue that the gene is the ultimate unit of life that controls human destiny under this argument since biology controls human behavior it is responsible for a person s choice to violate the law this view of crime causation is referred to as trait theory the scienti c method of careful observation and analysis was used by scientists and applied to the study of sociology by Auguste Comte positivism has two main elements 0 1 all true knowledge is acquired through direct observation and not through conjecture or belief 2 statements that cannot be backed up by direct observation are invalid and worthless 0 this would say faith is worthless Biological Positivism the earliest scientific studies applying the positivist model to criminology were conducted by physiognomists and phrenologists for the purpose of determining if someone was criminal these researchers believed that the external cranial characteristics dictate which areas of the brain control physical activity through phrenology techniques and method are no longer practiced or taken seriously these efforts were an early attempt to use a scientific method to study crime Cesare Lombroso says serious offenders were quotborn criminalquot and had inherited a set of primitive physical traits he referred to as atavistic anomalies the inheritance school traced the activities of several generations of families believed to have an especially large number of criminal members he said criminals manifest distinct physiques that makes them susceptible to particular types of delinquent behavior said criminals are less sensitive to physical pain some theorists believe criminals are less sensitive to physical pain others said criminals should not be held personally or morally responsible for forces outside their control 0 the inheritance school traced the activities of several generations of families believed to have an especially large number of criminal members Somatotype School Wiliam Sheldon believed criminals manifest distinct physiques that make them susceptible to particular types of delinquent behavior mesomorphs welldeveloped muscles and an athletic appearance active aggressive and most likely to be criminal endomorphs heavy builds and are slow moving less likely to commit violent crime possible engage in less strenuous crimes 0 ectomorphs tall thin less social and more intellectual than other types Sociobiology bioogica explanations of crime fell out of favor in the early 20th century as criminologists focused on sociological in uences the work of Lombroso et al is now considered historical curiosities not scienti c face their research methodologies have been discredited for a lack of control groups biophobia the belief that no serious consideration should be given to biological factors when attempting to understand human nature in the early 705 criminologist Edmund O Wilson published Sociobiology and the biological basis for crime reemerged 1 biological and genetic conditions effect how social behaviors are learned and perceived 2 sociobiologists view the gene as the ultimate unit of life that controls all human destiny 3 people are controlled by the need to have their genetics survive and dominate others 4 reciprocal altruism people are motivated by believing that their actions will be reciprocated and that their gene survival will be enhanced Contemporary Trait Theories trait theorists don39t believe a single attribute explains all criminality different ones are plausible each offender is unique physically and mentally o trait theorists are not overly concerned with legal de nitions of crimes trait theorists focus on basic human behavior and drives like aggression violence and the tendency to act on impulse some people may have a predisposition toward aggression but environmental stimuli can either suppress or trigger antisocial acts Environment Traits and Crime environmental conditions can in uence antisocial behavior not all humans are born with equal potential to learn and achieve contemporary trait theories can be divided into two major subdivisions 0 one that stresses psychological functioning another that stresses biological biosocial makeup Biosocial Theory core principle physical environmental and social conditions work together to produce human behavior exposure to chemical and mineral minimum levels of minerals and chemicals are needed for normal brain functioning and growth especially in the early years of life 0 chemical and mineral imbalances lead to cognitive and learning de cits that in turn are associated with antisocial behavior moking and drinking early ingestion of alcohol will have a direct in uence on behavior diet and crime improper food vitamin and mineral intake may be responsible for antisocial behavior 0 research indicates that persistent abnormality in the way the brain metabolizes glucose can be linked to antisocial behaviors such as substance abuse hypoglycemia occurs when glucose in the blood falls below levels necessary for normal and ef cient brain functioning linked to outbursts of antisocial behavior and violence hormonal in uences James Q Wilson feels that hormones may be the key to understanding human behavior and gender difference in the crime rate how do hormones in uence behavior hormones cause areas of the brain to become less sensitive to environmental stimuli Neurophysiology the study of brain activity research shows the relationship between impairment in executive brain functions abstract reasoning problemsolving skills and motor behavior skills and aggressive behavior is signi cant attention de cithyperactivity disorder a developmentally inappropriate lack of attention impulsivity and hyperactivity brain chemistry neurotransmitters are chemical compounds that in uence or activate brain functions abnorma levels of dopamine norepinephrine serotonin monoamine oxidase and GABA lead to aggression this in ux of endorphins and inhibitors give a neurophysiological high some achieve a high by fast driving skydiving roller coasters and other dangerous activities others engage in violence minima brain dysfunction MBD related to an abnormality in cerebral structure 0 it is de ned as an abruptly appearing maladaptive behavior that interrupts an individual s lifestyle and life ow MBD linked to serious antisocial acts an imbalance in the brain s urgecontrol mechanisms and chemical abnormality one type of MBD is manifested through explosive rage MBD in offender populations up to 60 brain wave activity predicts with 95 accuracy the recidivism of violent criminals Learning Disabilities LD a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or using spoken or written languages LD usually exhibit poor motor coordination have behavior problems and have improper auditory and vocal responses LD among kids who engage in antisocial behavior is far higher than general population Arousal Theory some people s brains function differently in response to environmental stimuli all seek to maintain a preferred level of arousal too much stimulation leaves us anxious and stressed out too little stimulation leaves us bored and weary choosing crime can help satisfy personal needs for thrills and excitement quotsensation seekersquot may seek out stimulation via aggressive violent behavior patterns factors that determine a person s level of arousal are not fully determined Genetics and Crime human traits associated with criminality have a genetic basis and personality traits linked to aggression may be heritable parental deviance idea that if criminal tendencies are inherited then criminal parents will produce criminal children iblingsimilaritie if criminal behavior is inherited it stands to reason that the behavior of siblings would be similar five facts siblings who live in the same environment are in uenced by similar social and environmental factors deviant siblings may grow closer because of shared interests younger siblings may imitate older siblings the deviant sibling may force or threaten other siblings to commit deviant acts siblings living in same environment may develop similar types of friends thus it is peer behavior that is the critical in uence on behavior Evolutionary Theory some believe that human traits that produce violence and aggression are produced through the long process of human evolution vioence and evolution some believe that violent offenses are often driven by evolutionary and reproductive factors gender and evolution aggressive males tend to mate with more partners producing more aggressive individuals Psychological Trait Theories psychoogica views most closely associated with the causes of criminal behavior psychoanalytic or psychodynamic perspective focus is on early childhood experience and its effect on personality behaviorism stresses social learning and behavior modeling 0 cognitive theory analyzes human perception and how it affects behavior focus on the psychological aspects of crime including the association between intelligence personality learning and criminal behavior Behavioral Theory human actions are developed through learning experiences peope alter their behavior according to reactions it receives from others behavior is supported by rewards and extinguished by negative reactions or punishments behaviorists view crimes especially violent acts as learned responses to life s situations ocial learning theory branch of behavior theory most relevant to criminology social learning and violenceaggression is learned through a process of behavior modeling from three principal sources 0 1 family interaction 0 2 environmental experiences 0 3 mass media four factors may contribute to violent andor aggressive behavior 0 1 an event that heightens arousal 2 learned aggressive skills 3 expected outcomesbelief that aggression will be rewarded 4 consistency of behavior with values belief that aggression is justi ed and appropriate Cognitive Theory sub disciplines include o moral development branch concerned with the way people morally represent and reason about the world 0 humanistic psychology stresses selfawareness and getting in touch with feelings 0 information processing branch focuses on the way people process store encode retrieve and manipulate information to make decisions and solve problems psychologists focus on mental processes and how people perceive and mentally represent the world around them and solve problems with Information Processing people who use information properly who are better conditioned to make reasoned judgments and can make quick and reasoned decisions when faced with emotion laden events are better able to avoid antisocial behavior choices


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