Criminology Test 3
Terms in this set (54)
"Code of the Street"
"A set of informal rules governing interpersonal public behavior, including violence"
-about respect, honor
-gain respect by taking others'
-encourages aggressive sanctions against individuals who show respect
-about a presentation of "self" and construction of a "self image"
-serves as an informal social control against greater violence
"Decent" kids act one way around family, switch when on the streets
Social Process Theories
To understand social behavior, we must to understand how individuals subjectively perceive their social reality.
-Join together psychology and sociology
How people interpret and define their social reality, and the meanings they attach to it in the process of interacting with one another via language (symbols).
The process through which we learn group skills, knowledge, values, motives, roles
-Crime is a socialized behavior learned through lifelong interactions
-agents= family, peer groups, authority figures, educational/religious institutions
-can be socialized to conform or violate norms
Social Learning Theory
Criminal behavior is learned the same way any behavior is learned
(Social Process Approach)
Robert Akers: Applied concepts of operant psychology to DAT to explain how individuals adopt "definitions favorable" to crime.
Learn criminal behavior through operant conditioning (A series of positive and negative reinforcement, positive and negative punishment, as well as discrimination)
Social Control Theory
Focuses on the interaction between an individual's personality and social environment
(Social Process Approach)
Asks why people don't commit crime instead of why they do
Emphasizes understanding conformity:
-The root cause of deviant behavior is the absence of social controls allowing people to control impulses and obey society's rules
-All people have the potential to deviate from social norms.
-Deviance is a name/label by which society makes some behaviors undesirable
-The process of being caught and labeled a "criminal" becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
-Primary Deviance: The initial nonconforming act that comes to the attention of authorities.
-Secondary Deviance: Deviance that results from society's reaction to primary deviance. (labeling theorist are concerned with the effects of this)
Differential Association Theory (DAT)
Sutherland says all significant aspects of human behavior are learned.
People are exposed to a variety of behavior patterns; some are labeled criminal, some are not.
Differential association: Criminal behavior results from having more contact with individuals holding attitudes favorable to crime than with individuals holding attitudes discouraging it.
Social Bonding Theory
Theory of social control.
The real question is not why some people commit crime, but rather why so many people behave well most of the time...
There are 4 dimensions to account for this.
Social Bonding Theory: 4 dimensions
-Attachment: The emotional component of conformity, such as bonds to key social institutions like the family and the school.
-Commitment: The rational component of conformity, such as the investment of considerable time and energy in the pursuit of a lawful career.
-Involvement: An outgrowth of commitment, this refers to the time and energy limitations that result from participation in lawful activities.
-Belief: The acceptance of the social norms regulating conduct.
A social control theory.
-Individuals with low self-control are more likely to commit crime.
-Most crimes are spontaneous, impulsive acts undertaken due to "the temptations of the moment."
-Offenders are: oriented at the present, risk taking, lacking in patience, self centered
-Low self control est. in childhood, persists throughout life, is not learned, is a consequence of poor socialization and parenting
People know their behavior is wrong, but they are able to neutralize their sense of shame or guilt through justifications.
There are 5 techniques:
-Denial of Responsibility: Shifts the blame for a deviant act away from the actor.
-Denial of Injury: An offender's claim that no "real" offense occurred because no one was harmed.
-Denial of Victim: Implies that the victim got what he or she deserves.
-Condemnation of the Condemners: The offender's assertion that the condemner's behavior is just as bad.
-Appeal to Higher Loyalties: Elevates the offender's moral integrity by claiming altruistic motives.
Consensus Approach to Crime
-it is a social phenomenon
-it is behavior that is generally agreed to be harmful, undesirable, and disruptive to the smooth functioning of society.
-Law reflects: consensus, customs and norms, societal needs (social defense)
Conflict Approach to Crime
-Crime and deviance are products of unequal power in society.
-Struggle for power far more basic feature of human existence than consensus.
-Law reflects: ruling class interests and values, dominant organized interest groups, structural contradictions.
-Focuses on power relationships
-Most political theory of crime
(Marx and Engles) Class struggle is inherent to capitalism, and leads to a variety of social ills—including crime.
Most people become conformists or ritualists, no room for creative expression in working class, leads to sense of alienation which leads to criminal behavior
Social Classes in Marxism
-Bourgeoisie (primary): Owners of the means of production. They enjoy the upper hand. What is their economic goal?
-Proletariat (primary): The oppressed working class. Feel alienated from their work. And their economic goal?
-Aristocracy (disappears with the fall of capitalism) : Rich elite that live off their own perpetuating wealth. (Marx says they are parasites)
-Lumpenproletariat (disappears with the fall of capitalism) : Individuals who represented the "social scum" of society, and who would not be involved in the expected revolution.
Willem Bonger's Marxist Thesis
-The roots of crime lay in the exploitive and alienating conditions of capitalism
-Some individuals are more susceptible to criminality than others based on variance in their innate "social sentiments."
-Altruism: active concern for well being of others
-Egoism: concern for ones own selfish interests, capitalism breeds this
Conflict Theory (Weber)
-Society is characterized by conflict that originates from several sources, Not just a from the economic system.
-The destruction of capitalism will not eliminate conflict because conflict is normal and functional.
-A culture's economic system is molded by its ideas.
Conflict Theory (Vold)
-Expanded conflict theory from its focus on value and normative conflicts to include conflicts of interest.
-Social life is seen as a continual struggle to maintain or improve one's group interests.
-Identifies crime as part of life, but does not as clearly identify specific causes of crime.
-The assumption that crime is primarily a "social construct" does not give proper recognition to the harm caused by mala in se crimes.
Marx (Marxism) v. Weber (Conflict Theory)
-Marx held that cultural ideas were molded by the economic system.
-Weber believed the economic system was molded by cultural ideas.
-Marx emphasized economic conflict between only two social classes.
-Weber saw conflict arising from multiple sources.
-Marx saw the end of conflict with the destruction of capitalism.
-Weber contented that conflict will always exists as groups look out for their interests.
Peacemaking Criminology and Restorative Justice
An overemphasis on punishing criminals escalates violence, Society should respond to crime in a compassionate and spiritual way.
-Its proposals for responding to crime may not be thorough enough to be useful.
-Restorative justice: A system of mediation and conflict resolution that involves a focus on repairing the harm caused by a crime.
-Marxism provides a reasonable starting point for understanding crime...BUT concern for the ills of capitalism need to be translated into more practical and realistic social policies.
-"Need to work within the system to change it."
-Seen as "sell outs" by hardcore Marxists.
-Adds very little unique understanding to criminology.
Evaluation of Marxist Theories
Has added very little unique insight to criminology.
Tend to romanticize offenders.
May not be correctly interpreting the higher crime rates associated with capitalism.
Does not account for the human rights that are prevalent in capitalist societies.
-Insights can be gained by examining crime through a feminist perspective.
-Attempt to understand:
-The Generalizability Problem: The question of whether traditional criminological theories apply to female as well as male crime.
-The Gender Ratio Problem: The question as to why women are so pervasively less likely to commit crimes.
-Has yet to formulate a comprehensive gender-specific theory of crime.
-Campbell's staying alive hypothesis is more about why females so rarely commit crime, not why they do commit crime.
-Campbell's hypothesis also fails to account for cultural variance in the crime rates of women.
Feminism: Masculinization Hypothesis
As females adopt "male" roles, they will masculinize their attitudes and behavior, thus becoming as crime-prone as men.
Feminism: Emancipation Hypothesis
As females increase their workforce participation, they will have increased opportunities to engage in job-related crime.
Feminism: Economic Marginalization Hypothesis
The women's liberation movement freed men from the role of breadwinner.
-This contributes to single motherhood and female poverty, which leads to female criminality.
Feminism: Staying Alive Hypothesis
Since women have a greater obligatory parental investment than men, they are less likely to engage in risky behaviors.
More interested in individual differences in the propensity to commit crimes than in environmental conditions that facilitate it.
-do not exclude the role of the environment
-"nature via nurture"
-Early theories strongly emphasized intelligence and temperament.
IQ/ Crime Connection
-Offenders are almost always found to have significantly lower verbal IQ scores than non-offenders.
-GPA actually a better predictor of criminal behavior that IQ.
-IQ does appear to be impacted by environmental factors (Psychological stressors, family life, poor diet, toxins)
-This link works via poor school performance (low IQ> risk of dropping out>anti social peer socialization>crime)
An individual characteristic that constitutes a person's habitual mode of emotionally responding to stimuli.
-An individual's set of relatively enduring and functionally integrated psychological characteristics.
-Results from temperament interacting with cultural and personal experiences.
-Components of personality; some of these are associated with criminality.
-Traits are not characteristics that some people possess and others don't—rather we differ only on the strength of these traits.
-Individual traits appear to be the shaped by both genes and environment.
-A complex mix of emotional and cognitive mechanisms that we acquire by internalizing the moral rules of our social group.
-Differences in the emotional component of conscience reflect variation in autonomic nervous system (ANS) arousal patterns.
Autonomic Nervous System
Carries out the basic housekeeping functions of the body by funneling messages from the environment to the various internal organs so that they may keep the organism in a state of biological balance.
-People with a readily aroused ANS are easily socialized—develop a conscience.
Reticular Activating System (RAS):
-The portal through which nearly all information enters the brain.
-It is the regulator of the neurological system and therefore the regulator of cognitive arousal.
-In identical environmental situations, some people will be under-aroused and others over-aroused.
-Augmenters: Individuals with an RAS that is highly sensitive to incoming stimuli. (more easily conditioned)
-Reducers: Individuals with unusually insensitive RAS. (easily bored with levels that are perfect for most of us)
Glen Walters' Lifestyle Theory
-Criminal behavior is part of a general pattern of life.
-Characterized by: Irresponsibility, impulsiveness, self-indulgence, negative interpersonal relationships, and the chronic willingness to violate society's rules.
-Key concepts: Conditions, choice, and cognition. Cognition may include eight major "thinking errors" identified by Walters.
-Approach often used by correctional counselors.
Antisocial Personality Disorder
-Is a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others.
-Begins in childhood and continues into adulthood.
-Criteria for APD diagnosis is legal and clinical, and rests primarily on people's behavior.
-May be the result of an interplay of neurobiological, psychological, and social factors.
-Psychological definition: Psychopathy is characterized by egocentricity, deceitfulness, manipulativeness, selfishness, and a lack of empathy, guilt or remorse.
-Physiological definition: A syndrome characterized by the inability to tie the social emotions with cognition.
-Social definition: A term used to refer to the most serious and chronic criminal offenders.
-Psychopaths have a greatly reduced ability to experience the social emotions of shame, embarrassment, guilt, and empathy
-Unable to "tie" the brain's cognitive and emotional networks together, and thus form a conscience.
-Primary psychopaths—root causes thought to be biological
-Secondary psychopaths—behavior a result of genetics and adverse environments.
-Some feel this is different from psychopathy; these are seen as individuals who have "never signed the Social Contract"
-Seen as attributable to poor parenting and other factors.
-An attempt to understand how our biological makeup interacts with the environment to lead to certain behaviors has been behavior genetics.
-A branch of genetics that studies the relative contributions of heredity and environment to behavioral and personality characteristics.
-Behavior geneticists use twin and adoption studies to untangle the relative influences of genes and environments
A measure that quantifies the extent to which genes influence a trait.
The 2 G/E Behavior Genetics
-G/E Interaction (GxE): The notion that people are differentially sensitive to identical environmental influences.
People respond differently to different environments.
-G/E Correlation (rGE): Genotypes and the environments they find themselves in are related.
Passive rGE: Parents provide children with consistent genetic and environmental influences.
Evocative rGE: A child's genetic traits will influence how others respond to them.
Active rGE: Individuals will seek out environments compatible with their genetic dispositions.
Behavior Genetics and Criminal Behavior
Genetic effects are most pronounced among chronic offenders who begin offending prior to puberty and continue to do so across the life course.
-Heritability (h2) estimates only indicate that genes contribute to traits, but molecular genetics can help us identify those genes.
-Genes have an indirect effect on criminality, through their influence on personal traits.
-Seeks to explain behavior with reference to human evolutionary history.
-Evolutionary psychologists agree with criminologists that although it is morally regrettable, crime is a normal behavior for which we all have the potential.
Parenting Effort v. Mating Effort
-The proportion of reproductive effort invested in rearing offspring.
-Humans invest more in parenting effort than any other species, but there is considerable variation within the species.
-More common among females
-Traits associated with parenting effort also associated with pro-social behavior.
-The proportion of reproductive effort invested in acquiring sexual partners.
-An excessive focus on mating effort is associated with a higher risk of antisocial activity.
-More common among males.
-Traits associated with mating effort also associated with antisocial behavior.
Neurons v. Neurotransmitters
-Neurons: Brain cells that communicate with one another to create thoughts, feelings, emotions, and behavior.
-Neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin are the chemical messengers that move information between neural networks.
Reward Dominance Theory
-Behavior is regulated by the Behavioral Activating System and the Behavioral Inhibition System
-The balance of these mechanisms impact a person's likelihood of engaging crime, trouble with addiction (BAS dominant over BIS in criminals) (Low serotonin linked to offending)
BAS v. BIS
-Behavioral Activating System (BAS):
Sensitive to reward, and likened to an accelerator motivating a person to seek rewarding stimuli.
Linked to dopamine.
-Behavioral Inhibition System (BIS):
Sensitive to threats of punishment, and can be likened to a brake that stops someone from going too far too fast.
Linked to serotonin.
Prefrontal Dysfunction Theory
If the prefrontal cortex is damaged in some way, it can increase the likelihood of antisocial behavior (also a weak Fight/Flight system increases risk).
The prefrontal cortex regulates executive functions of the brain (moral judgement, ability to plan, analyze emotions)
Individuals with decreased prefrontal activity may have greater difficulty suppressing negative emotions than those individuals who have greater prefrontal activation.
Biosocial Risk Factors
-Testosterone (T) linked to aggression, which in turn, is linked to crime.
-Environmental toxins linked to crime. (alcohol and smoking while pregnant linked to delinquency)
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