A criminal is one who commits an action which constitutes an offence and thus is punishable by law (oxford dictionary online), but what actually terms some of the normal beings who surround us to be called a ‘criminal’? The answer lies in Criminal Psychology. According to Miller (2014), every individual acquire two faces the exterior face and the interior face, so does criminals because they too are ‘humans’. These violent offenders do not share some common exteriority because they come in all sizes, ages, shapes and colors but what do they actually share is the mindset, the interior face because whoever commits crime most of the time follow the same trait, therefore criminal psychology comes handy, as a result pre-eminent factors that lead to crime and some of the interventions that could aid the risk can be discussed.
Amongst the many factors studied criminal psychology is vital firstly because biological reasons and secondly for environmental. Hence because of the interventions too.
The very basic reason analyzed when it comes to committing a crime it is the mind, which is the so called “brain”, because brain is the initial place from where an individual gets thought of doing something ironically as always found quoted “brain controls the body” therefore admittedly the first obvious reason why criminal psychology is vital are the biological factors.
Initially when it comes to ones biology emphatically it is its’ composition ratio of a part called amygdala in brain which characteristically involve in fear, aggression, and social interactions of a criminal. Supporting this theory was an experiment conducted on fear conditioning of 1,795 three year olds, by Adrian Raine, DPhil. Of the department of criminology at the University of Pennsylvania, led this study with Yu Geo, PhD. at CUNY-Brooklyn. In this experiment each child’s finger were attached with electrodes while playing two tones repetitively, unpleasant and loud followed by nice one. Eventually, yield of sweat responses of every child for each tone was noted. After about twenty years it was found that participants who went on to commit crimes were the ones who “simply failed” in demonstrating fear conditioning, after making a comparison of them with non-criminal counterparts, matching them on gender, ethnicity, and social adversity. To this Raine had told they were fearless when most of us would be fearless. (The American Journal of Psychiatry, 2010).
Moreover, though not strongly approved but it is believed that genetics too play a vital role as a background to criminal thoughts and act expounded, it was such believed as an outcome to a statistical report that suggested ‘more males commit crimes than females’ ,hence making an assumption genetics do play a role. According to a prolonged fact, nature decides and passes parental and ancestral genes to offspring which combine to make up the genetic makeup of an individual thus explicating if ancestors or parents have had committed any sort of crime there is a higher tendency to pass on the traits of criminology to their male kids, as a result this theory is accredited as both male or female child have 50 percent of chance of getting it. Another theory too trying to prove that genetics play a role in criminal behavior is the research made on identical twins. In this study it was observed that identical twins shared criminal tendencies than the fraternal twins though separated at birth. In addition to this the brain chemistry too plays a role because it is genetics that define the brain chemistry, of which the neurotransmitter serotonin is associated with mood affecting, male hormone testosterone linked to levels of aggression, omega-3 is thought to lower levels of aggression, and poor nutrition till the age of three has being linked to increasing levels of aggression (Rivendelle, 2016).
Furthermore the anatomy and brain structure is another factor under biological reason which can lead a person to be an offender. The hippocampus which is responsible for memory storage which if damaged may not control a being from committing a crime because he/she is unable to remember the punishment for the crime as a fact the offence is committed over and over again. Another part called Frontal Cortex is also a reason if damaged may lead to crime notably because it is the part relating to self-control. A famous case revealing this reason is the accident that happened to a railroad worker foreman Phineas Gage in Vermont U.S 1848. Gage was a mild-mannered and conscientious personality whose job was to oversee the laying of explosives, where he used to tamp down the explosives with sand using the tamping iron rod (3.8’ long and 1.5” in diameter), one fateful day a spark ignited an explosive which led the rod straight through his left cheek and out through the frontal cortex, landing several feet behind him. Miraculously, he just not survived but walked till the cart which was to transport him to the hospital. After full recovery he was termed No Longer Gage, why? Because he was no longer mild manned nor was he conscientious instead he turned out to be verbally aggressive and abusive, unreliable in his job and very much impatient and impulsive which led him to unemployment by the railroad company. In conclusion it appeared that the damage to frontal cortex led this change in him, hence brain damage could also have led him to depression so there was also a possibility that he could have suffered post-traumatic stress (Rivendelle, 2016).
Secondly, the environmental factors too play a vital role in the criminological status of an individual. For decades it has been witnessed it’s the environment that had triggered most of the crimes. Adding to this are the four theories of crime. Firstly the socialization theory of crime which includes three learning theories an individual learns something new. One The Operant Conditioning- the Skinner box developed by B.F.Skinner in which rats were trained to operate levers to get their food. Three The Observational Theory- “Monkey see- Monkey do”, consequently this explains human too learn in a similar way so, when a child is surrounded by criminal family or community they are likely to learn criminal behavior by means of any of the three ways this is where the line children learn from what they see parents do. The second theory is the Routine Activity theory, here the child observes three things motivation to get something, a suitable target and absence of guardian if they are able to get these elements and feel that stealing is the easiest way out to get what they want they routinely continue to do it because they have the freedom to it and such feel it’s the right way out. The third theory is the Strain Theory, this theory gets handy when the person feels dissatisfied in terms of lifestyle, education etc… they have received and a mindset that probably they will never be able to get all these what they feel they should have at least in the near future neither by hard work in the right path they tend to commit crimes, to fulfill their desires by choosing a profession of drug dealing, robbery and more forgetting the consequences. Another theory is the Social Construction theory, for instance each country, community etc… have their own way of seeing crime for example in Saudi Arabia public display of affection is illegal, homosexuality is legal in the U.S.A. hence retaliating with final theory the Control theory, which says that criminal justice system is seen developing by the dominant classes for the sole benefit of the upper classes, causing resentment and rebellion (Rivendelle, 2016) all these conclude environment too plays a role in converting a decent person into criminal. Moreover, a person’s psychology is the risk factor in criminality, therefore the factors that increase the possibility may include behavioral disorder, lack of education, media influence poor personal temperament, low IQ, antisocial beliefs, influence of society or a poor integration in it, and poor parenting, etc… are the added factors.
Criminal psychology has led to interventions of certain prevention mechanism since fighting crimes has become more and more sensitive and it is simply not just ‘catch and imprison’ work anymore. As of now, modern approach considers also that offenders are society members, in fact after imprisonment offenders must be acquired with rehabilitation theory, as the main goal is not to only punish but to prevent them from recommitting. Furthermore, such preventive measures namely include, promotion of self-awareness, re-socialization, training, education, identification risks of criminal behavior, or psychodynamic therapy. To add to the fact psychodynamic therapy was developed by Sigmund Freed in late 1800’s which has become significant theory of criminality he believed that “every individual carries residue of the most significant emotional attachments of childhood, which then guides our future interpersonal relationship”. This is a three part structure consisting of id the undeveloped primitive part of our makeup, controlling need for food, sleep and other basic instincts, which focuses on instant gratification. Ego controls the id by setting up boundaries. Superego change of judging the situation through molarity (Siegal, 2005).
- Agnew, R. (1993). Why do they do it? An examination of the intervening mechanisms between ‘social control’ variables and delinquency. Journal of Research in Crime Delinquency, 30, 3, 245-266.
- Bonger, W. (1916). Crime and Economic Conditions. Boston: Little Brown.
- Clarke, R. V., & Felson, M. (1993). Routine activity and rational choice. Piscataway: Transaction Publishers.
- Howit, D., (2009), Introduction to forensic and criminal psychology. (3). Harlow: Pearson Education.
- Miller,A. (2014). The Criminal Mind. Monitor on Psychology, 45, 2, 39. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/02/criminal-mind.aspx
- Mischel, W. (1968). Personality and assessment. New York: Wiley.
- Raine, A. (2008). From Genes to Brain to Antisocial Behavior. Current Directions in Psychological Science (Wiley-Blackwell), 17, (5), 323-328.
- Rivendell, A. (2016). Psychology of Crime: Why do people become criminals? Retrieved from https://owlcation.com/social-sciences/Psychology-of-Crime-Why-do-people-become-criminals
- Siegel, L. J (2005). Criminology the core. (2). Thomson: Wadsworth
- Theories of Crime Retrieved from http://www.e-criminalpsychology.com/criminal-bhavior/#Theories_of_criminal_behavior
- Viding, E., Blair, R.R., Moffitt, T. E., & Plomin, R. (2005). Evidence for substantial genetic risk for psychopathy in 7-year-olds. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 46, (6), 592-597.
Cite this Criminal Psychology Role
Criminal Psychology Role. (2020, Aug 02). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/criminal-psychology-role/