Outline and Discuss in Detail the Various Theories Used by Psychologists to Explain Criminal Behaviour. by Applying Evidence to Support Your Argument, How Relevant Do You Consider These to Be? Essay examples

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The following essay will outline and discuss the various theories used by psychologists to explain criminal behaviour. According to White and Haines 2008 crime was seen as the result of externally caused biological problems or internal psychological factors that were treatable. They believe the criminal was made, not born. Psychological theories tend to focus on how characteristics of an individual lead to criminal behaviour, however these theories may also be irrelevant, challenge existing thinking and make people and institutions think. The Oxford Dictionary 2003 defines psychology as ‘the study of the nature, functions and phenomena of behaviour and mental experience.’ More specifically, it is the study of people and Williams …show more content…
A well-known experiment carried out by Bandura is one which involved the ‘Bobo doll’.
Bandura found the physical skills necessary for the commission of a crime which are learned through either observing or being taught by others. He believed that the nature of this learning, together with the physical attributes of the offender, determines the type of crime that is carried out. There is some research linking criminality with low level social skills although much of the findings are far from conclusive (Jones 2006:414). Offenders must have a specific attitude in order to commit a crime. Bandura (1976) stated ‘learning mainly occurs in three contexts: in the family, in a sub-culture, and through cultural settings such as television, cinema and books’. He also accepted that genetic factors could affect an individual’s capacity to learn, that both experimental and physiological factors interrelate, often in difficult ways, to determine behaviour.
According to Jones (2006), Charlton and Gunter (1999) studied the behaviour of children prior to, and following, the introduction of television on the island of St. Helena in 1995. The researchers found that in this case there was no increase in violent or anti-social behaviour on the part of the children, however, in the Rip Van Winkle Study in the 1960’s, researches found the main findings were that early signs of aggression accurately predicted later aggression,