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SOC 3890 Chapter 5 Book Notes

by: Abby Joannes

SOC 3890 Chapter 5 Book Notes SOC 3890

Marketplace > Clemson University > Sociology > SOC 3890 > SOC 3890 Chapter 5 Book Notes
Abby Joannes
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These notes cover an outline of Chapter 5 in the book. Vocabulary words are highlighted in red.
Sociology of Criminology
Dr. White
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Abby Joannes on Sunday February 7, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to SOC 3890 at Clemson University taught by Dr. White in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 54 views. For similar materials see Sociology of Criminology in Sociology at Clemson University.


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Date Created: 02/07/16
Chapter 5 Notes: Trait Theories Book Notes • Foundations of the Trait Theory o Positivism: a branch that uses the scientific method to suggest that human behavior is a product of social, biological, psychological, or economic forces o Biological Positivism § Psychopathic personality: lack of warmth, inappropriate behavioral responses, and the inability to learn from experiences • Philippe Pinel o Cesare Lombroso § Atavistic abnormalities: physical characteristics distinguishing born criminals from the general population • Keep in mind the difference between indirect and direct heredity § Biological determinism: criminogenic traits can be acquired through heredity § Criminal anthropology: early efforts to discover a biological bases of crime § Inheritance school: trace the activities of several generations of families believed to have an especially large number of criminal members • Although modern schools point out that these are probably more social than biological traits § Somatotype: categorizing of body build o Legacy of biological criminology § Mostly discredited, no basis of fact § Biosocial theory: focus on the interactions between biological and social factors as they relate to crimes o Sociobiology § Biophobia: the view that no serious consideration should be given to biological factors when attempting to understand human nature § Sociobiology: studying human social behavior based on the idea that its made up of genetic make up and environmental interaction § Reciprocal altruism: acts that outwardly help others but also the self o Contemporary trait theories § Trait theory: criminality is a product of abnormal biological and/or psychological traits § Individual vulnerability: direct link between traits and crime § Differential susceptibility: indirect association between traits and crime • Biosocial Theory o Biochemical conditions and crime § Exposure to smoking and drinking • Prematurity, low birth weight, poor parenting practices • Early exposure may short-circuit growth § Exposure to chemicals and minerals • Depression, mania, cognitive problems § Diet and crime • Poor diet may have long-term influence on behavior § Sugar intake • Aggression § Glucose metabolism/hypoglycemia • Link between hypoglycemia and violence § Hormonal influences • May explain the aging out process • Testosterone: male sex hormone, studies see higher levels of it in criminals • Administration of progesterone in males to lower aggression § Premenstrual syndrome • Link still unknown but possible o Neurophysiological conditions and crime § Neurophysiology: study of brain activity § Neurological disorder and antisocial behavior connections (3) • Direct association • Indirect association • Interactive cause § Minimal brain dysfunction: abruptly appearing, maladaptive behavior that interrupts and individual’s lifestyle and life flow. § Learning disabilities: disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or using spoken or written languages § Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a psychological disorder in which a child shows developmentally inappropriate impulsivity, hyperactivity, and lack of attention • Emotional turmoil can either produce symptoms of ADHD or cause them to intensify § Tumors, lesions, injury, and disease • Wide variety of psychological problems, including personality changes, hallucinations, and psychotic episodes § Brain chemistry • Neurotransmitters influence or activate brain functions. Low levels of neurotransmitters are linked to high levels of violence and property crime • Chemical restraints (chemical straitjackets): antipsychotic drugs which help control levels of neurotransmitters, used to treat violence-prone people o Arousal theory: view of crime suggesting that people who have a high arousal level seek powerful stimuli in their environment to maintain an optimal level of arousal. § Factors that determine a person’s level of arousal are not fully determined, but suspected to include: • Brain chemistry & structure • Heart rate • Autonomic nervous system o Genetics and crime § Testing genetic theory • It may appear that criminals tend to produce children who are genetically predisposed, but it is also possible that what appears to be a genetic effect is actually the product of social processes § Sibling similarities • Very possible that if one sibling commits crimes, so will the other, but that factor is influenced by how close their connection between each other is as well. • Contagion effect: genetic predispositions and early experiences make some people, including twins, susceptible to deviant behavior, which is transmitted by the presence of antisocial siblings in the household § Adoption studies • Several studies indicate that some relationship exists between biological parents’ behavior and the behavior of their children, even when their contact has been nonexistent • Psychological Trait Theories o Different perspectives § Defective Intelligence: traits such as feeblemindedness, epilepsy, insanity, and defective social instinct, which Goring believed had a significant relationship to criminal behavior § Psychoanalytic/Psychodynamic Perspective: branch of psychology holding that the human personality is controlled by unconscious mental processes developed early in childhood § Behaviorism: the branch of psychology concerned with the study of observable behavior rather than unconscious motives. It focuses on the relationship between particular stimuli and people’s responses to them § Cognitive Theory: the study of the perception of reality and of the mental processes required to understand the world in which we live o Psychodynamic Theory § Elements • Id: primitive part of people’s mental makeup, present at birth, that represents unconscious biological drives for food, sex, and other life-sustaining necessities. Seeks instant gratification. o Pleasure principle: theory in which id-dominated people are driven to increase their personal pleasure without regard to consequences • Ego: helps control the id and keep people’s actions within the boundaries of social convention o Reality principle: the ability to learn about the consequences of one’s actions through experience • Superego: incorporation within the personality of the moral standards and values of parents, community, and significant others o Divided into conscience and ego ideal o Conscience: distinguishes between right and wrong o Ego ideal: directs the individual into morally acceptable and responsible behaviors which may not be pleasurable § Psychosexual stages of human development • Eros: instinct to preserve and create life, basic human drive present at birth • Thanatos: instinctual drive toward aggression and violence • Oral stage: first year of life, child attains pleasure by sucking and biting • Anal stage: second and third years of life, focus of sexual attention is on the elimination of bodily wastes • Phallic stage: third year, children focus their attention on their genitals o Oedipus complex: males have sexual feelings for their mothers o Electra complex: girls have sexual feelings for their fathers • Latency: feelings of sexuality are repressed until the genital stage begins at puberty • Fixated: an adult who exhibits behavior traits characteristic of those encountered during infantile sexual development § Psychodynamics of antisocial behavior • Inferiority complex: people who have feelings of inferiority and compensate for them with a drive for superiority • Identity crisis: psychological stage in which youth face inner turmoil and uncertainty about life roles • Latent delinquency: psychological predisposition to commit antisocial acts because of an id-dominated personality that renders an individual incapable of controlling impulsive, pleasure-seeking drives • Conduct disorders: a pattern of repetitive behavior in which the rights of others or social norms are violated • Bipolar disorder: emotional disturbance in which moods alternate between periods of wild elation and deep depression o Attachment Theory: the belief that the ability to form attachments – that is, emotionally bond to another person – has important lasting psychological implications that people follow across the life span o Mental disorders and crime § Mood disorders • Alexithymia: deficit in emotional cognition that prevents people from being aware of their feelings or being able to understand or talk about their thoughts and emotions; seem robotic and emotionally dead § Psychosis: mental state in which the perception of reality is distorted. People experiencing psychosis hallucinate, have paranoid or delusional beliefs, change personality, exhibit disorganized thinking, and engage in unusual or bizarre behavior • Schizophrenia: type of psychosis often marked by bizarre behavior, hallucinations, loss of thought control, and inappropriate emotional repsonses. o Behavioral Theory § Social learning theory: view that human behavior is modeled through observation of human social interactions, either direct or indirect • Most relavant to criminology • Albert Bandura thinks that most people are not actually born with the ability to act violently § Social learning and violence • Behavior modeling: process of learning behavior through observation of others • Three principle sources of modeled aggressive acts o Family interaction o Environmental experiences o Mass media • Social learning theorists have said that the following four factors may contribute to violent and/or aggressive behavior o An event that heightens arousal o Aggressive skills o Expected outcomes o Consistency of behavior with values o Cognitive Theory § Moral development: way people morally represent and reason about the world § Humanistic psychology: branch of psychology that stresses self- awareness and “getting in touch with feelings” § Information processing: branch of cognitive psychology that focuses on the way people process, store, encode, retrieve, and manipulate information to make decisions and solve problems • Psychological Traits and Characteristics o Personality and crime § Personality: the reasonably stable patterns of behavior, including thoughts and emotions, that distinguish one person from another § Sadistic personality disorder: repeat pattern of cruel and demeaning behavior § Antisocial personality • Frequently described as “psychopaths” or “sociopaths” o Intelligence and crime § Intelligence: person’s ability to reason, think abstractly, understand complex ideas, learn from experience, and discover solutions to complex problems § Nature theory: the view that intelligence is largely determined genetically and that low intelligence is linked to criminal behavior § Nurture theory: the view that intelligence is not inherited but is largely a product of environment. Low IQ scores do not cause crime but may result from the same environmental factors


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