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criminal behavior

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Introduction

Criminal behaviour Psychologists have done different studies to see why people commit crimes. Some have said that it is because a person is born a criminal whilst others argue that a person is influenced by society. Those who say that a person who is influenced by society might do it because they live in a poor area or they are brought up to think it is normal. Or they might have a role model who commits crimes. Those who say that a person is born a criminal say that the person might have excessive testosterone which makes them more aggressive and therefore commit more crimes. Milgrim (1963) studied the obedience of the participants. As his aim was to investigate the stages of obedience that would be shown when participants who taken part in this experiment which were told from authority figure to control the electric shock to another person. This theory started off by the teachers asking questions to the participants and if the participant answer is wrong, he would be punished with an electric shock. The voltage increases for each wrong answer. None of the participants left the experiment without givng the intense shock. Another case study was done by Albert Banduras. He concludes that observing aggressive or violent behaviour, would make the participant behave more aggressively or violent. ...read more.

Middle

Lombrosso studied the shape and structure of the human head. He believed that there was a link between the shape of the skull and the structure of the brain that it contained; suggesting certain abnormalities in the skull could be related to criminal behaviours. He measured the facial features of prisoners in Italian jails and identified physical characteristics, that he believed indicated criminality. Individuals that had these features were considered to be a more different type of human being. Among the features which Lombroso identified were the following: an over-sized brain, squinting eyes, prominent eye-brows and a projecting jaw. According to Lombroso' findings these particular types of human beings found it difficult to adjust socially to civilised society. However it can be argued that the experiments that Lombroso carried were not valid as he did not compare his criminal sample to a non-criminal control group or take account of racial and ethical differences. Furthermore his measurements were inaccurate as he did not use appropriate statistical techniques and he did not have accurate understanding human physique. In addition to this it can be that that identifying criminals by their physical characteristics can cause stereotyping and prejudice as people have been labelled to this theory. Bandura et al. (1963) did an experiment into children learning aggression. He divided up 66 nursery school children into three groups. ...read more.

Conclusion

Much of Bandura's work was focused on observational learning of aggressive behaviour, but does not lead into criminality. It has however, been used to advance differential association theory, which does lend itself to criminality. Some will say that a person who would have a lot of testosterone is born this way and be more aggressive. However some other people would say that other people with testosterone aren't aggressive. People who born with XYY chromosomes are more likely to be aggressive because they are more in the jails. But it might be that lots of male are out of jail are XYY but they are not in jail. In the theory of the XYY chromosomes a normal human cells contain 46 chromosomes. Individuals receive half their chromosomes from each parent and in this way genetic transmission occurs. One particular pairing of chromosomes determines sex e.g. female XX, male XY. Some individuals have abnormal chromosomal combinations, and if the presence of an extra Y chromosome in males is created, as this make the person aggressive and violent. However there is no evidence that the vast majority of criminals have this or any other chromosomal abnormality. Some criminals would have an extra Y chromosome and may carry a slightly higher risk of behavioural problems but not all people with this abnormality will be criminals and not all criminals born with XYY chromosome. But this could be found in only account for predisposition in a small percentage of criminals. ...read more.

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