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Freud's theory - Psychoanalytic Approach.

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Freud's Theory This approach to the explanation of criminal behaviour is known as the Psychoanalytic Approach. This approach stresses the importance of irrational, unconscious motivations in criminal behaviour and is largely based on the: > ID - biological part of the personality: self-pleasure. > EGO - executive part of the personality: reality. > SUPEREGO - moral/judicial part of personality. Freud suggested that a dysfunctional superego is likely to lead to criminal behaviour. How does a dysfunctional superego form? According to Freud, the parents will have the biggest impact on the development of the child's superego. If the boy fails to identify with his father- for reasons such as the father is rejecting, absent or weak, the *Oedipus conflict is not resolved and the young boy will develop a weak superego. ...read more.


When the id, ego and superego are reasonably well balanced, the defence mechanism can channel aggression through social activities such as sport. If the systems are extremely unbalanced then anti social behaviour will occur. *Oedipus conflict- boys desire sexual possession of mother. He recognises that it is wicked and therefore fears that father will discover his thoughts and punish him through castration. Comes to terms with the situation by identifying with father. Blackburn (1993) explains the causes of criminal behaviour by identifying three superego dysfunction's: * Harsh superego (resulting from identification with a strict parent)- leads to feelings of guilt and obsession whenever the ID attempts to get any satisfaction at all (especially sex). ...read more.


Hoffman 1977 indicated that females have a stronger moral orientation than males. This is the only theory that addresses the importance of emotional factors in criminal behaviour. The theory is limited in the types of crimes for which it can account e.g. Kline 1987 - white collar crimes are planned & motivated by a rational decision to profit from the proceeds of crime rather than an irrational thought process. It offers a more plausible account than most theories for crimes that have no obvious gain and are incomprehensible to the logically minded. (such as stealing women's underwear from washing lines.) Some criminals show neurotic conflicts but this does not necessarily support the approach, conflicts may result from, rather than cause crime. Hollin 1989 - theory states criminal tendencies are a manifestation of unconscious conflict in adolescents and as variables have been identified, this theory provides useful pointers for later crime theorists. ...read more.

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