Sample Undergraduate Psychology Essay

Words: 1594
Pages: 7

NB This is not a perfect essay. It was graded at 60% (A 2.1) and the bibliography is missing!
Drawing on Freudian and Attachment Theories assess the Relationship between early year's experiences and criminality.
Psychological theories have attempted to explain the reasons for and how criminality occurs. The psychoanalytic perspective involves two major theories - Freud's theory of the Sexual Stages of Development and the Theory of Attachment purposed by Bowlby (1947). These theories conclude that there is an association between the formation of personality in childhood and that of future criminal behaviour. The Freudian theory of development suggests that we go through several stages of development
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Freud himself claimed that his theory needed no empirical testing. Therefore it has been suggested that Freud's psychological beliefs were essentially based on theoretical subjective speculation (Torrey, 1992). However, this statement causes substantial problems in the replication of his studies and tests of reliability. It can be argued that personality and behaviour is an individual property - however, within the assessment of the association between psychological theories and criminality it is impossible to treat the individual as an individual entity.
Reports have often generalised and claimed that 'juvenile delinquents are more likely to commit crime' (e.g. Bowlby) - therefore to assessing this claim it is essential to include reliable research studies in doing so. Therefore, the above account lacks reliability and possibility validity - due to the differences in research methods that these studies utilised to collect and generalise their findings. Most research that attempts to find an association between childhood events and adult behaviour is up against questionable validity - due to the nature of the material they are researching.
For example, assessing childhood experiences is difficult - as it is retrospective information. If relying on self-reported information this is open to distortions, elaboration or down-playing of events. Also if details of criminal behaviour or childhood incidences brought to the